Asthma Management: Anti-Inflammatory, Bronchodilator and Combination Medications


  • Your doctor may prescribe several types of medication to treat your asthma. Two of these are anti-inflammatories, and bronchodilators. Both work to open up your airways, but they do so in different ways.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications decrease airway sensitivity and reduce mucus production. Bronchodilators relax muscles around your airways. This action opens up your airways, making it easier to breathe and for mucus to leave your body.
  • Both medications can be prescribed as either controller medication, medicine that you take every day to prevent long-term sensitivity, or quick-relief medication, medicine for the relief of sudden asthma attacks.
  • In some cases, your healthcare provider may prescribe a combination medication that has the properties of both anti-inflammatories and bronchodilators. Combination medications can make your asthma management easier because you to only use one medication, instead of two.
  • One dose of a combination medicine decreases inflammation, opens up your airways, and helps to loosen mucus. Loose mucus is easier to cough out of your system.
  • Like all medicines, asthma medications only work when you take them as prescribed. So review your prescriptions with your doctor or pharmacist and make sure you follow them correctly.
  • “I’m on a maintenance program right now, which is two clicks is what they call it, of Pulmicort®, which in three years I’ve only had one situation. I feel very good about that. But I have to take the Pulmicort® daily.”
  • If your medications are not working as expected, or you feel you may be experiencing medication side effects, tell your doctor right away. Your medication plan may need to be changed.

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