Medicines and Devices

Inhalers, puffers, steroids, asthma medications

There are a range of medicines available for people with asthma to manage and control their symptoms.

The most common types of asthma medications are preventers and relievers.

Some asthma medications are taken by breathing them in through an inhaler or nebulizer so they go directly into the lungs and airways. Other medications are in a pill or liquid form.

Preventers help to reduce inflammation in the airways. This means they make them less sensitive, red, swollen and reduce mucous. People with asthma need to take preventer medicine every day to reduce their symptoms and asthma flare-ups. They make take some time – a few weeks – to reach their full effect.

Relievers are fast-acting medication that reduces the symptoms of asthma. They act to relax the muscles around the airways and open them up, allowing more air flow. Relievers work within minutes and their effects last for up to four hours.

Everyone with asthma should have a reliever medicine to use whenever they experience symptoms. But if you need to use your reliever more than two days per week, other than before exercise, your asthma may not be well controlled and you should see your doctor.

Relievers are also used in asthma first aid. You should carry your reliever medicine at all times in case of asthma symptoms.

On the Asthma Australia medication  pages we’ve provided information about medications most commonly prescribed for asthma. If your medication isn’t listed here, it might be that it’s not commonly prescribed for asthma. Call or email 1800 ASTHMA to get more information about asthma medicines from an Asthma Educator, or you can also ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain more.

When you get your prescription filled your pharmacist may ask you if you would like a generic version of your medication. Generic medicine contains the same active ingredients as the name-brand medicine. It is important to speak with your doctor and pharmacist about whether a generic version of your medication is appropriate for you based on the dosage and device.

For more information on generic medicines click here.


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