Asthma medications

For asthma, healthcare professionals may give albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil), salmeterol (Serevent), epinephrine (Primatene Mist, Bronkaid Mist), metaproterenol (Alupent), theophylline (Theo-dur), Aminophylline, Ipratropium Bromide (Atrovent), cromolyn sodium (Intal, Nasalcrom), montelukast (Singulair), prednisone (Deltasone), flunisolide (Aerobid), triamcinolone (Azmacort), beclomethasone (Vanceril), zileuton (Zyflo), and zafirlukast (Accolate).

What is asthma and what do asthma medications do?

  • Small muscular tubes in the lungs called bronchioles help move air deep into the lungs where oxygen is taken into the blood. In asthma, these tubes get clogged or they tighten, making it vary hard to breathe.
  • Asthma medications open up the breathing tubes to allow the person to breathe more easily.
  • Shortness of breath may cause a person with asthma to feel anxious or to panic.
  • Asthma can be worsened by emotional stress, physical exercise, chest colds, coughing, wheezing, or going from a warm environment to a cold one. Make sure that you have the prescribed inhaled asthma medication on hand for use in emergencies.
  • People who take these medications should wear a medical identification bracelet.

What should I tell the healthcare professional about the individual who will be taking these medications?

  • Tell the healthcare professional about any alcohol or medications (prescriptions, or nonprescription) that the patient is taking.
  • Tell if the individual is pregnant.
  • Tell if the individual has liver or kidney disease.
  • Tell if the individual smokes.

How should I give this medication and how should I store it?

  • Give these medications by mouth or inhaler.
  • You can give these medications either with or without food unless indicated on the prescription.
  • Give these medications on time and as prescribed.
  • Store these medications at room temperature.

What side effects should I look for and when might I see them?

  • The person taking the medication may feel nervous, have tremors, gain weight, eat more, eat less, retain water, heart rate or blood pressure may go up, or the person may have trouble falling asleep. Caffeine makes all side effects worse.
  • Report immediately any Itching, rash, seizures, or increased used of inhalers necessary to relieve shortness of breath.

Where can I find more information about Asthma Treatments and Medications?

  • Asthma:
  • - Prescription drug information and news for professionals and consumers.
  • - The Internet Drug Index for prescription drugs and medications.