By guest, Jun 10 2016 06:27PM
Asthma is a disease of the lungs, which affects the airways. The components of asthma are inflammation & constriction;
Inflammation causes the airway to become inflamed and swollen which reduces the amount of air you breathe in and out.
Constriction occurs when the muscle tissue surrounding the airways tighten making it hard for you to breathe in and out.
Drugs used to treat Airway Constriction
1. Long acting bronchodilator inhalers: they relax the smooth muscle surrounding the airways
for up to 12 hours.
2. Oral bronchodilators: these work similarly to the inhalers, but for a period of up to 6 hours.
However, they tend to take a longer time for onset of action.
3. Leukotriene Modifiers: Leukotrienes are involved in a pathway causing airway constriction
and swelling. Leukotriene modifiers are taken orally and act to block this pathway.
The above three groups of drugs should not be used for relieving sudden asthma symptoms.
Drugs used to treat Airway Inflammation
1. Inhaled corticosteroids: these medications go directly to the airways, and reduce swelling
and irritation in the airways.
2. Oral steroids: these act similarly to the inhaled steroids, but can cause some stomach
irritation since they are ingested.
They are generally used with frequent or severe asthma attacks.
The above two categories of drugs should not be confused with anabolic steroids which are used to increase muscle mass.
3. Cromolyn and Nedocromil: these are used to make the airways by relaxing the muscle and
should be used for sudden attacks.
These do not provide long term control of asthma or prevent future attacks hence known as rescue inhalers.
According to the National Institute of Health, using rescue inhalers more than twice a week is a sign that your asthma may not be as well controlled as it could be.
Get to know some of the common triggers of asthma:
• Irritants – smoke, odors, air pollution
• Weather – cold air, warm air, humidity
• Medication – Aspirin
• Infection – dust mites, pollen, mold, pet dander
• Expression – laughing, crying, shouting
If you have asthma, and are on a treatment regimen, maybe you could be breathing better. Take a few minutes and think; do you avoid activities you would like to do like hiking, racket sports, or do you stay indoors hot or cold days, then maybe your asthma could be managed more effectively.
According to the “Rules Of Two“ trademark of the Baylor Health Care System, if you use your rescue inhaler more than twice a week; or awaken at night with asthma symptoms more than twice per month, or refill your rescue inhaler more than twice per year, then possibly your asthma may not be well controlled.
As always, your doctor and you know your body and treatment regimen. Always consult before requesting any changes.
By Nitin Patel, Pharmacist
Chino Hills Professional Pharmacy