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By Medifit Education





Antiasthmatic drugs are medicines that treat or prevent asthma attacks.A disease in which the air passages of the lungs become inflamed and narrowed.

For people with asthma, the simple act of breathing can be a struggle. Their airways become inflamed and blocked with mucus during asthma attacks, narrowing the opening through which air passes.

Using antiasthmatic drugs properly is important. Because bronchodilators provide quick relief, some people may be tempted to overuse them. However, with some kinds of bronchodilators, doing so can lead to serious and possibly life-threatening complications. In the long run, patients are better off using bronchodilators only as directed and also using corticosteroids, which eventually will reduce their need for bronchodilators.



Antiasthmatic drugs are medicines that treat or prevent asthma attacks.



Side effects

Inhalant forms of antiasthmatic drugs may cause dryness or irritation in the throat, dry mouth, or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. To help prevent these problems, patients can gargle and rinse the mouth or take a sip of water after each dose.



Three types of drugs are used in treating and preventing asthma attacks:

  • Bronchodilators relax the smooth muscles that line the airway. This makes the airways open wider, letting more air pass through them. These drugs are used mainly to relieve sudden asthma attacks or to prevent attacks that might come on after exercise. They may be taken by mouth, injected or inhaled. Bronchodilators may be taken in pill or liquid form, but normally are used as inhalers, which go directly to the lungs and result in fewer side effects.
  • Corticosteroids block the inflammation that narrows the airways. Used regularly, these drugs will help prevent asthma attacks. Those attacks that do occur will be less severe. However, corticosteroids cannot stop an attack that is already underway. These drugs may be taken by mouth, injected or inhaled.
  • Leukotriene modifiers (montelukast and zafirlukast) are a new type of drug that can be used in place of steroids, for older children or adults who have a mild degree of asthma that persists. They work by counteracting leukotrienes, which are substances released by white blood cells in the lung that cause the air passages to constrict and promote mucus secretion. Leukotriene modifiers also fight off some forms of rhinitis, an added bonus for people with asthma. However, they are not proven effective in fighting seasonal allergies.
  • Cromolyn also is taken regularly to prevent asthma attacks and may be used alone or with other asthma medicines. It cannot stop an attack that already has started. The drug works by preventing certain cells in the body from releasing substances that cause allergic reactions or asthma symptoms. One brand of this drug, Nasalcrom, comes in capsule and nasal spray forms and is used to treat hay fever and other allergies. The inhalation form of the drug, Intal, is used for asthma. It comes in aerosol canisters, in capsules that are inserted into an inhaler, and in liquid form that is used in a nebulizer.



There are many drugs that are used in treatment of asthma. Interactions should be reviewed on an individual basis.

Drugs which decrease blood levels of aminophylline (which opens bronchial passages) and may require a dose increase are:

  • carbamazepine
  • isoprenolol
  • phenobarbital
  • phenytoin
  • rifampin

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By Medifit Education