A common lung condition, asthma causes occasional breathing difficulties in both adults and children. There is no known cure, but there are enough easy-to-access treatments available that could help you keep the symptoms under control.
For most sufferers, the main symptoms are wheezing when breathing, breathlessness, a tight chest and coughing. If these symptoms get worse or all come at once, it may be that you or your loved one is suffering from an asthma attack. Luckily, these can be prevented by various solutions and avoiding triggers such as animal fur.
To highlight the effectiveness of asthma medications and demonstrate how readily available they are, we have provided five forms of treatment you may be recommended by your doctor here – as well as ones that you can get from a pharmacist.
1. Reliever inhalers
Reliever inhalers ease your symptoms when you are feeling breathless, wheezy or tight-chested by getting the medicine straight to your lungs. The medicine used in these inhalers are called bronchodilators. They work by relaxing (dilating) the muscle in the airways (bronchi), widening them and therefore helping you to breathe.
There are two main bronchodilators. They are called salbutamol and terbutaline, and they usually come in blue inhalers. Anyone with asthma can be prescribed a reliever inhaler as they tackle the mildest symptoms and are only really used when you encounter them
To get the most relief, you should use your reliever inhaler as soon as you notice symptoms. This will help you prevent an asthma attack and reduce your overall usage. However, if you find that you are using your reliever inhaler more than two or three times a week, it is likely you will need a preventer inhaler to better control your symptoms.
2. Preventer inhalers
Preventer inhalers are for asthma sufferers who experience symptoms more frequently. They usually contain a steroid medicine and should be taken every day to reduce inflammation in the airways. By reducing inflammation, the airways are less likely to narrow, preventing you from wheezing or becoming tight-chested.
By using your preventer inhaler the prescribed amount, your airways should be less sensitive to triggers, easing your reliance on reliever inhalers. In fact, by using your preventer inhaler daily, you should build up a natural asthma protection over time. If this controls your symptoms effectively, you may not need to use the reliever inhaler again.
Preventer inhalers are often brown, and the steroids used within them are a copy of those naturally produced in our bodies. They are not the anabolic steroids associated with athletes and should help you to develop a healthy defense.
3. Combination inhalers
Combination inhalers combine both the inhalers mentioned above into a single device. They are typically prescribed when previous inhalers are not controlling your symptoms – whether that is because you are still badly reacting to triggers, or because you are struggling to balance your current medication.
As a combination inhaler replaces your preventer inhaler, you should take your combination inhaler every day. This is because the medication still needs to build up a line of defense in your airways in order to prevent symptoms.
In contrast, while the combination inhaler contains reliever medication, it should still be paired with a reliever inhaler. Yes, combination inhalers have everything you need in the event of an asthma attack. However, a reliever inhaler is designed to give you quick relief in the event of an emergency.
Again, if a doctor feels that your current medication is not working, they may try an additional form of medication. One of these could be leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs), which come in syrup and powder forms. They calm the inflammation in your airways by blocking leukotrienes in your body. These are chemicals you release during an allergic reaction.
Alternatively, you could be recommended theophylline, which helps to relieve breathlessness by relaxing your airways and letting air flow more freely through them. It is intended to be taken with your other medications and is proven to help in hospital emergencies when a patient needs instant relief from an asthma attack.
Lastly, your doctor could prescribe additional steroid tablets to help strengthen your airways. They will only do this if they believe your preventer inhaler is not keeping your symptoms under control. If you have severe asthma, you may be prescribed a longer course of steroid tablets to complement your inhalers.
5. Complementary therapies
Outside of this, your doctor will recommend that you try to improve your lifestyle and reduce contact with triggers. Bear in mind that perfectly healthy people can be asthmatic – however, by maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet, you should improve your chances of avoiding serious attacks.
They might also recommend the likes of breathing exercises, including techniques like the Papworth method and the Buteyko method. These help some sufferers improve their symptoms and teach them to control their breathing. It is important to note that they should never be used instead of your medication.
There are, of course, treatments like acupuncture, traditional Chinese herbal medicine and homeopathy. There is little evidence to suggest that any of these methods help, although some asthma sufferers believe they provide them with some relief.
Turn to Medix for your asthma medication refills
At Medix Pharmacy, not only do we have a range of asthma medication available, our stock is affordably priced and can be delivered to your doorstep. So why wait? Refill your supply today.
If you have any questions about our service or products, please get in touch. You can call a member of our customer service team on 1-866-500-6633 (toll-free phone number) or +44 1438 500111 (international phone number). Otherwise, please request a callback.