How is asthma treated?

"Doctors treat asthma with a combination of long-term and quick-relief medications, and medications to treat allergy-induced asthma," says Associate Professor Loo Chian Min, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.​

Long-term asthma medication

Long-term asthma medications include:

  • Inhaled corticosteroids to reduce inflammation of the bronchial tubes,
  • Bronchodilators to open up the airways
  • Leukotriene modifiers to reduce both airway inflammation and mucus production.

Quick-relief asthma medication

Quick-relief medications are prescribed to cope with sudden asthma attacks. These are inhaled medications such as ipratropium (Atrovent) and albuterol. They relax the airway muscles temporarily to make breathing easier.

Asthma inhalers are the asthma sufferer’s mobile medical kit. The inhalers deliver medication directly to the lungs for immediate relief during a sudden asthma attack.

Asthma attack: a sign your asthma is not well-controlled!

“Go and see a doctor even if you have recovered from an asthma attack. Asthma attacks are signs that your asthma is not well-controlled. You may need stronger medication for a worsening asthmatic condition,” says A/Prof Loo.

See the previous page for tips on how to survive an asthma attack without an inhaler.

Ref: T12​