How is asthma treated?

Preventers

The main goal of treatment in asthma is to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms and prevent ‘asthma attacks’ or ‘flare-ups’. Therefore, the most important treatment is medicine which prevents these from occurring. Preventers are used to reduce the inflammation and sensitivity in the airways, which in turn prevents symptoms and reduces the risk of flare-ups. This is effective for most people with asthma. Preventers are inhaled, so they work inside the airways, where they need to. 

Combination preventers

Some inhaled preventers come in fixed dose combination form, and they are called combination preventer inhalers. They contain both the preventer and reliever types of medications in one device and they work by both reducing the inflammation in the airways and relaxing the tight airway muscles. Combination preventers contain two or three medications: an inhaled corticosteroid to reduce inflammation, and one or two long-acting medications to relax tight airway muscles. Enerzair is a combination preventer and may also be called a triple therapy combination preventer. 

Relievers

An important part of medical treatment in asthma involves the use of a bronchodilator (to open and relax the breathing tubes), which aims to relax the muscles in the airways. Commonly known as relievers, these medicines are also inhaled and provide quick relief of symptoms. Relievers are usually used alongside preventers to treat symptoms that breakthrough despite tailored preventer treatment. 

Dual purpose relievers

(budesonide/formoterol used as-needed) are a combination of two ingredients – budesonide and formoterol – in a single inhaler. When used as needed, they relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of experiencing serious asthma flare-ups (attacks) by treating inflamed airways. Dual purpose relievers (budesonide/formoterol used as-needed only) are usually indicated for use in mild asthma. 

Add-on treatments

Add-on treatments in asthma are medicines that are added into a person’s daily regime when asthma symptoms persist despite the correct use of tailored preventer therapy. There are a number of add-on treatments available in asthma and they work in different ways. Some work by reducing the cause of airway inflammation and others work by relaxing airway muscles. These may be prescribed if an adult with difficult to treat or severe asthma continues to experience frequent symptoms or flare-ups.