Common Inhalers and Medicines for Asthma

What You Need To Know About Asthma Drugs and Inhalers

Asthma Treatment Adolescence. Credit: Media for Medical / Contributor / Getty Images

Your asthma medicines will vary in a number of different ways, such as the route of delivery, frequency, and dose. Asthma inhalers are inhaled directly into the lung, while some asthma drugs are taken by mouth. It is important that you not only know the correct dose and frequency of all your asthma medicines, but also the potential side effects and how to prevent them.

If you do not see your asthma drugs here or want to learn more, you can check out Drugs A to Z.

  • Flovent
    Flovent is an asthma drug containing the steroid fluticasone propionate, one of the components of Advair. This is a controller medicine that will reduce inflammation in your airways, but needs to be taken daily to improve your asthma.
  • Prednisone
    Oral steroids, also called systemic corticosteroids, are often used when you develop an asthma exacerbation or attack. This form of steroids for asthma is different from inhaled steroids because it affects the whole body.
  • Pulmicort
    Pulmicort is a controller asthma medicine. Pulmicort is a first-line treatment when you need more than occasional use of your rescue inhaler. Pulmicort can be prescribed by itself or combined with another asthma drug, like a long-acting beta agonist, to prevent asthma symptoms.
  • Qvar
    Qvar contains the steroid beclamethasone dipropionate. Like other inhaled steroids, Qvar is considered a first-line treatment to control asthma symptoms when you need to use your rescue inhaler more than twice per week. Qvar is prescribed by itself, but your doctor may have you also take a long-acting beta agonist. 
  • Singulair
    Singulair (monteleukast) is used as an alternate therapy for the treatment of mild persistent asthma. Singulair can also be used for the prevention of exercise-induced asthma and in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis.
  • Slo-Bid (Theophylline)
    Theophylline is a drug in a class called methylxanthines. With the advent of newer asthma medicines, theophylline is not commonly used today. This asthma drug improves symptoms through its action as a muscle relaxant. It opens up constricted airways and may have mild anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Symbicort
    Symbicort is a combination asthma medicine that contains budesonide and formoterol.

Asthma Medicine FAQs


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed: April 3, 2011. Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma

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