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How to Approach Asthma Management

A winning approach to asthma management is critically dependent on using the correct anti-inflammatory medications with broncho-dilators which are needed for immediate and occasional relief of symptoms of asthma.

1.     Anti-Inflammatory - Preventers: Anti-inflammatory medication is used to treat the inflammation caused by exposure to inducers.

2.     Bronchodilators - Relievers (Rescue medication) Bronchodilators are used to relieve Broncho-constriction which is provoked by triggers.

Medications: Anti-inflammatory
A successful move towards decent asthma management, both in and out of an acute hospital setting is dependent upon the accurate use of anti-inflammatory treatment and bronchodilators being prescribed for immediate and occasional relief of any symptoms shown.

Anti-inflammatory medications work mostly by interfering with the activity and chemistry of immune cells, such as mast cells, which cause inflammation in the airway walls. Anti-inflammatory medication also helps rest the airway muscles that narrow and constrict during broncho-spasms.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications (Preventers)

  • prevent and reduce inflammation, swelling and mucus in the airways
  • put a stop to symptoms such as cough, wheeze and breathlessness
  • need to be taken on a regular basis
  • are slow acting (over hours or weeks)

Types of Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

There are steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

The most common ones include:


    * beclomethasone (Beclovent®, Vanceril®, Becloforte®)
    * budesonide (Pulmicort®)
    * flunisolide (Bronalide®)
    * fluticasone (Flovent®)


    * sodium cromoglycate (Intal®)
    * nedocromil (Tilade®)

Corticosteroid Inhalers
Corticosteroid drugs are the most effective Preventers. They work by reducing and preventing airway inflammation, swelling and mucus. They must be used regularly and do not have an instant effect. This means they have no value whatsoever if an effect is needed straight away.

The Side effects of Corticosteroid Inhalers
There are few side effects at low doses

* High doses might cause growth suppression; studies have shown children whose asthma is not controlled don't grow as quickly as other children.
* side effects, in general, are usually restricted to the throat:
   - hoarseness and sore throat
   - Thrush or yeast contamination which can be prevented by rinsing the mouth and gargling, Using a holding chamber can also help prevent side effects. 

Corticosteroid tablets or Prednisone®:
These are used when inflammation becomes severe
They reduce inflammation, swelling & mucus, and help bronchodilators work better
They start to work within a few hours, but may take several days to have a full effect
They are often used for short periods of time just to get the inflammation under control
There are lots of side effects if used on a long-term basis such as water retention, bruising, puffy face, increased appetite, weight gain and stomach irritation.

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