Know Your Asthma Medicines

Some people with asthma have to take medicine every day. Other people with asthma take medicine only as needed. Your provider will make a plan for you based on your symptoms and any special conditions that affect your asthma.

There are two types of asthma medicines - long-term control medicine to prevent an asthma attack and quick-relief medicine to use when you are having asthma symptoms.

Long-Term Control Medicine (Daily Medicine)

Some people with asthma need to take medicine every day to prevent asthma attacks from starting. These are called long-term control medicines.

Long-term control medicines:
  • Must be taken daily, as ordered by your provider, even when you're feeling well.
  • Should not be used to treat asthma attacks already in progress-they do not work quickly enough to bring relief.

Quick-relief Medicine (Rescue Medicine)

Quick-relief medicines are used to quickly open your airways when you are having asthma symptoms.

Quick-relief medicines:
  • Should be taken as ordered when you are having trouble breathing.
  • Do not prevent asthma attacks.

If you have to use quick relief medicines every day or several times a day, it may be a sign you need better asthma control.

Ask Your Provider About:

  • Your long-term control medicine(s)
  • How to better avoid triggers
  • The need to avoid certain foods, beverages or medicines, including over-the-counter drugs. These can cause serious interactions with asthma medicines.