There are two main types of asthma treatment: background treatment and emergency treatment for an attack.


Today, medications allow close to 95% of asthmas to be kept under control. A study in the U.S. showed that 16% of people with asthma reported high health costs, spending more than 10 percent of their income for out-of-pocket expenses. These people were also the most likely to not keep receiving treatment. And only about 50% take it correctly. 

For bronchoconstriction, medications that dilate the bronchi are effective: these are short-acting bronchodilators, and are most frequently administered via an inhaler (available in injectable form in very rare cases).

Background treatment consists of treating the edema of the walls of the bronchi, to reduce or prevent symptoms and inhibit the worsening of respiratory function over time. It consists of inhaling corticosteroids every day. These medications can take some time to take effect, with it sometimes taking several weeks for them to be active. It is therefore important to wait a couple of weeks before judging the effectiveness of the treatment. 

Bronchodilators and Asthma


In many of these treatments, bronchodilators with a long-lasting effect are part of long-term care for the illness.
The treatment of choice for asthma attacks is to take bronchodilators. These products, administered via inhalation, immediately allow the musculature of the bronchi to relax, resulting in bronchodilation and relief. However, this treatment does not reduce the edema and has no effect on hypersecretion. 

Every asthmatic person should carry a bronchodilator with them at all times. Inhalers are not always easy to use, especially in children who may have difficulties in coordinating their breathing and use of the device. In this case, there are inhalation chambers that allow this difficulty to be overcome. 

Worsening or attack

In the event of the worsening of the illness, which generally takes place incrementally over two to three days, it is important to be careful. A good indicator is the significant increase in the use of the bronchodilator compared to normal use of the medication. In this case, it is important to consult a doctor. 

In the event of a severe attack, oral or subcutaneous steroids may also be prescribed. The major risk remains major respiratory distress. Mortality due to asthma, which is becoming less and less common, is primarily observed in people who do not follow medical instructions and do not take their treatment properly (often adolescents).

Last updated: 2/18/19

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