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How Is Asthma Treated?

There are several types of medicines available to treat asthma. Research is helping to identify better treatments depending on the different types of asthma.

Each person's asthma is different. You and your healthcare provider will work together to establish the best treatment plan based on your symptoms and needs.

After your healthcare provider diagnoses your asthma, you will be prescribed medicines that help control asthma. By taking the right medicine at the right time, you can:

  • Breathe better
  • Do more of the things you want to do
  • Have fewer asthma symptoms

Many good treatments for asthma are available today. Some asthma medicines work quickly to relax your airways and help you breathe easier, while other treatments reduce the swelling and inflammation in your airways and prevent symptoms. It's important to follow your healthcare provider's advice about your treatment.

Quick-relief Medicine

  • You need to take this medicine if your asthma symptoms get worse.
  • Be sure to start treatment as soon as your symptoms begin.

Long-term Control Medicine

  • You need to take these medicines every day, even when you feel well.

Learn more about the different types of asthma medicines available to treat your asthma and watch the device and demonstration videos available to see how to use your asthma medicine correctly.

Once your doctor has diagnosed you with asthma and given you a clearer understanding of what it means to have asthma, it's time to find out what you can do to better manage the disease.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that test how well new medical approaches work in people. Each study answers scientific questions and tries to find better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose or treat a disease. People who take part in clinical trials for asthma have an opportunity to contribute to knowledge of and progress against the disease. They also receive up-to-date care from experts. Learn more about clinical trials »

Treating Severe Persistent Asthma

New treatments are available for patients with severe persistent asthma whose asthma is not controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting bronchodilators. Below are types of severe persistent asthma and their available treatments.

Type of severe persistent asthma

Available treatment

Atopic or allergic asthma

Anti-IgE (omalizumab)

Eosinophilic asthma

Anti-IL 5 (mepolizumab, reslizumab and benralizumab)

Hyperreactive asthma

Bronchial thermoplasty

Anti-IgE and Anti-IL5 therapies are given as an injection or IV every two to eight weeks depending upon the dose and medication required. Bronchial thermoplasty is a treatment given through an outpatient procedure called a bronchoscopy (a flexible tube with a light on the end of it). The bronchoscopy allows a pulmonologist to introduce a catheter that applies heat to the inside of your bronchial tubes. This heat causes the smooth muscle around your bronchial tubes to decrease by 60-70 percent and your airways become "less twitchy" to triggers.

    Webpage Resource

    Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Asthma

    Learn more
    Webpage Resource

    Understand Your Asthma Medication

    Learn more
    Webpage Resource

    Create an Asthma Action Plan

    Learn more

    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed May 18, 2018.

    Page Last Updated: July 10, 2019

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