As-needed Asthma Medications

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Question

Why do some people use asthma medications on an as-needed basis while others use medications daily?

Answer

AsthSeveral types of medication are available to treat asthma and they are prescribed depending on the severity of the individual person's asthma. Depending on the severity of the disease, your treatment may differ from someone else, so some people may use inhalers and other medications on an as-needed basis if they have less severe asthma symptoms. Oftentimes, patients with asthma only require a "rescue medication", such as an albuterol inhaler. This type of medication is only used when needed for an asthma attack. If the attacks become too frequent or if a patient suffers from a more severe form of asthma, the doctor may decide to prescribe a "controller medication" in addition to a "rescue medication". This type of medication is to be used every day, even if the patient is feeling ok. "Controller medications" should not be used in the case of an asthma attack. It is important to understand both your asthma and your asthma medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your medications to make sure your treatment is appropriate. One other note, if you find yourself using a rescue inhaler everyday inform your doctor or pharmacist because this may be a sign that your therapy is sub-therapeutic.

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