Asthma inhalers: relievers and preventers

In: Asthma

26 Sep 2012


Asthma. What associations does this word induce in your head? Wheezing, coughing, short breath, suffocation and… inhalers. Indeed, inhalers are the most popular and frequently prescribed medications for bronchial asthma and other disorders of respiratory organs. As a part of asthma treatment inhalers are not considered to be the main remedy, but one of the irreplaceable ones. Especially if we speak about a sudden, unexpected asthmatic fit. In this case fast-acting asthma relievers can easily safe one’s life. Before a person is diagnosed asthma (s)he has no idea that pharmaceutical companies offer various types of inhalers with different functions and effect.
Depending on type of medicine contained in the canister there are relievers and preventers. The first type of inhalers is used to stop a bronchospasm immediately. Bronchospasm makes patient’s airways narrower so that breathing becomes much harder for this person, almost impossible. Relievers start acting in a few minutes after the drug was inhaled and are vitally necessary at the event of acute asthma attack. That is why they strictly recommend to have one inhaler with fast-acting medication in a pocket, a glove compartment of car, everywhere to use it on-the-spot. Relievers are nothing but fast-acting bronchodilators such as levalbuterol, salbutamol, theophylline or formoterol. The main function of these remedies consists in relaxing of tightened smooth muscles around airways. Tensed muscles contract and thereby airways become narrower. Drugs, belonging to bronchodilators impact these muscles and widen airways. Their effect lasts 3-4 hours, but long-acting relievers are active up to 12 hours. Bronchodilators are also efficient for preventing exercise-induced asthma. Those patients who buy asthma inhalers for the first time should not mix up fast-acting bronchodilators and long-acting anti-inflammatory remedies. These medications have opposite effect on asthma. If bronchodilators relieve asthma symptoms in the shortest time possible, effect of anti-inflammatory drugs will not be so rapid. Preventers are widely represented by corticosteroids used to reduce the inflammation level in the lungs, remove edema of bronchi mucous membrane and reduce the sensitivity of bronchi. Inflammation, resulted in increased irritability degree, may become the main reason of bronchospasm and should be treated properly. The effect of preventing remedies lasts much longer than that of relievers. But one must remember that in the event of asthma attack preventive remedies can hardly help an asthmatic. Today it became easier to differentiate these remedies according to the colors of their package. If you buy asthma inhalers pay attention to the color of the package. Usually, relievers are produced in blue/grey gamma, long-acting bronchodilators are in green colors and preventing drugs are available in darker colors (brown).
Do not buy asthma inhalers without preliminary consulting your doctor. Remember, only your healthcare provider can exactly know what is necessary for your asthma condition. And, while choosing an asthma inhaler, follow his directions.

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