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Asthma – Treatment

January 28, 2021
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Asthma treatment is tailored for each patient, depending on severity of their symptoms. In patients with mild disease, avoiding asthma triggers and having a short rescue inhaler, including the medication albuterol, levalbuterol or ipratropium to be used on as-needed basis is usually enough. The goal in patients with mild disease is use the short acting rescue inhaler less than twice a week. If you find yourself using your rescue inhaler more often, have a discussion with your doctor and decide if a maintenance therapy is necessary. In patients with persistent and moderate disease, use of an inhaled corticosteroid or a combination inhaler is often needed. For patients prescribed a maintenance inhaler, it's important to note that these inhalers are meant to be used on a daily schedule basis. Unlike the short acting rescue inhalers, which can be used only on as-needed basis, maintenance inhalers need to be used daily or twice daily prescribed just like any other medication. The maintenance inhalers do not act as quickly as the short acting inhalers and should not be used to provide rapid relief of asthma symptoms. Depending on the severity of your asthma, your physician will pick the optimal maintenance inhaler therapy. We described asthma exacerbations earlier. Asthma exacerbations are potentially life-threatening conditions that require a significant increase in your medications. A combination of frequent use of short acting bronchodilators and oral steroids are often necessary. Frequent exacerbation should prompt a change in the use of your maintenance therapies to minimize the risk of future exacerbations.

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