What Are the Main Asthma Medications?

Asthma is a debilitating condition that often requires medication to curb. The exact types of medication and treatment required for one’s particular case can vary heavily from patient to patient. Below, we cover the main asthma medications.

In addition, asthma has the potential to shift and change heavily over time, which means that tracking its development with your health professional about asthma treatment is of paramount importance for keeping yourself healthy and preventing its further exacerbation over time.

What Are the Main Asthma Medications?

If you suffer from asthma, take a look at this list of medications that are commonly employed to help patients manage this condition.

Long-term Asthma Control Medications

This type of medication is taken regularly to control chronic asthma symptoms and to prevent asthma attacks. Preventing the latter is one of the primary concerns of dealing with asthma, as an acute asthma attack can quickly become life-threatening. Some examples of this type of medication include the following:

  • Leukotriene modifiers
  • Long-acting beta agonists (LABAs)
  • Long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs)
  • Combination inhalers
  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Theophylline

LABAs and LAMAs are bronchodilators. These two types of medications can be combined to control asthma. Both types of medications open the airways of the lungs and can reduce swelling for at least 12 hours. Patients are to be used on a regular schedule to control moderate and severe asthma attacks. LABAs are only taken in combination with an inhaled corticosteroid.

Inhaled corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that are the most effective and common method of long-term control medications for asthma. They are used to reduce swelling and tightness in one’s airways. Many find that they need to use these medications for several months before they see long-term results.

Medications for Allergy-induced Asthma

These medications are taken regularly or as needed to reduce the body’s sensitivity to various substances that it might be allergic to. These allergens can come from a variety of sources, including environmental factors as well as ingested materials. Some of these medications include:

  • Basic allergy medications
  • Under-the-tongue (sublingual) immunotherapy tablets
  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy)

The kinds of situations that these medications serve best for can quickly turn into life-threatening scenarios due to the rapid inflammation caused by acute asthma attacks. For this reason, these medications are to be kept on hand by the patient in case an allergy provocation induces an allergy attack. In these situations, time is of the essence.


These types of medications are taken with control medications to prevent the underlying biological responses in the body that cause inflammation in the lungs in response to asthmatic stimuli. These types of medications most often prove utilized in severe asthma symptoms. Some of these medications include:

  • Tezepelumab-ekko (Tenzpire)
  • Reslizumab (Cinqair)
  • Omalizumab (Xolair)
  • Mepolizumab (Nucala)
  • Dupilumab (Dupixent)
  • Benralizumab (Fansera)

Quick-relief medications (Rescue Medications)

These medications work as needed for rapid, short-term relief of acute asthma attack symptoms. These medications should stay kept on hand for those prone to these types of attacks. Some examples include:

  • Short-acting beta agonists
  • Oral corticosteroids
  • Ipratropium (Atrovent HFA)

These asthma medications open the lungs and relax the airway muscles. They can ease worsening symptoms or stop an asthma attack that’s already in progress. These medications begin working in minutes and last for up to 4 to 6 minutes. Generally speaking, they’re not for daily use.

Keep close track of whether you need to use your inhaler more often than your normal amount, as you may be increasing the possibility of suffering from a serious asthma attack.

Choosing the Right Asthma Medications

Keeping close track of your symptoms and adjusting your treatment based on the changes that occur is key to successful treatment. Consulting with your health care provider and creating a detailed plan for taking long-term control medications for managing an acute asthma attack. Following through with your plan completes your side of the bargain.

You may find that you need to adjust your medications over time. Learning how to recognize an asthma emergency is also key to staying on top of your health. Even if you feel like you’re not in ill health, keeping a regular medication regimen and tracking your symptoms can help you until you’re able to reach your provider to discuss further steps.

The Asthma Center of New York

Dr. Mayan Shukla remains one of the top physicians in New York who specializes in asthma treatment. If you’re suffering from asthma and would like to discuss your condition with a specialist, contact Dr. Shukla today in order to schedule a consultation.

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