The key way asthma is managed is with inhaled medicines which fall into two categories – preventers and relievers.
Different asthma medications work for different people. Your doctor will discuss your options with you and may change your medications from time to time to help you manage your asthma better. Your doctor may also recommend that you take a combination of medicines.
Preventer medicines make the airways less sensitive, reduce redness and swelling and help to dry up mucus. They are the mainstay of asthma treatment because they treat the underlying cause of the symptoms. You need to use your preventer for several weeks (2-4 weeks mostly) before it starts working as an anti-inflammatory and to continue to be effective, needs to be continued daily.
Relievers are fast acting medications that quickly relieve asthma symptoms by relaxing the muscles around the outside of the airways. They start to work within minutes and can last for up to 4 hours. Relievers should rarely be used alone to manage asthma.
You can find more information about specific asthma medications, devices and techniques under Asthma Medicine.
For more information, download our Know your options – updated treatment options for mild asthma brochure.