med-loader
MedManage medication management app screenshots

Asthma Medications List

Click on the links in the list below to see more information about the asthma medication such as it's warnings, side effects, interactions, and storage instructions.

List of available medications for asthma.

Asthma is a chronic disorder that affects the lungs with the most common symptom being trouble breathing of varying degree. Several types of medications are used to treat asthma including steroids to reduce inflammations, anti-allergans, and quick-acting bronchodilators. These medications can come in tablet form, as an inhalar, or be administered as an injection.

Quick Acting Asthma Relief Medications

Quick acting asthma medications are used to treat acute asthma symptoms and asthma attacks. They include short-acting beta 2 agonists and the common human hormone adrenaline.

Albuterol inhaler

Brand Name(s): Ventolin® HFA, Proventil® HFA, Proair® HFA, VoSpire ER®, ProAir® RespiClick

Albuterol, also known as salbutamol, is an inhaler based medicine used to prevent and treat wheezing and other breathing problems (such as those caused by asthma). Albuterol is fast-acting, quick-relief medication that is meant to be used during an asthma attack or other acute breathing issue for instant symptom relief.

Albuterol is a short-acting beta agonist which works on the lung airways to relax the muscles and open the breathing passages, allowing more air to enter with each breath.


Levalbuterol

Brand Name(s): Xopenex®, Xopenex® HFA, Xopenex® Concentrate

Levalbuterol is very similar to albuterol, being in the same class of drugs. It is a quick-relief inhaler meant to reduce acute systems experienced in an asthmatic episode such as a severe asthma attack. Levalbuterol is an inhaled short-acting beta-2-agonist, which acts by relaxing the muscles in lungs and breathing airways, allowing for less obstructed breathing and relief from asthma symptoms.


Metaproterenol

Brand Name(s): Alupent

Metaproterenol can come in a variety of forms including oral tablets, syrup, or inhalers. It used to treat shortness of breath or wheezing caused by chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma. Metaproterenol is a beta-2 receptor agonist bronchodilator, meaning it functions on and helps open bronchial breathing passages in the lungs. This property allows it to make breathing easier for patients with asthma and can be used as either a preventive treatment or for acute episodes. This drug is also known as orciprenaline in other countries.


Epinephrine

Brand Name(s): Epinephrine Mist®, Adrenaclick®, Adrenalin®, Adrenalin Chloride®, Adyphren Kit®, S2®, EpiPen Jr®, Twinject®, Epipen®, Auvi-Q®

Epinephrine medication, commonly known by it’s brand name Epipen®, is considered one of the most important medications for people with asthma, especially those with severe asthma who are prone to serious asthmatic attacks. It is used in emergency, life-threatening asthmatic episodes. Epinephrine is starkly distinct from the other quick relief asthma medications: Albuterol, Levalbuterol, and metaproterenol; which are all beta 2-agonist bronchodilators.

Epinephrine is a natural occurring hormone in our bodies, also called adrenaline. Adrenaline is known for its properties in our fight or flight response, quickly accelerating or changing many bodily functions such as increasing blood flow to help us deal with immediate bodily threats. This allows epinephrine to be an ideal medication for dire medical scenarios such as asthma attacks. Epinephrine, almost exclusively administered as a one-time use injectable, works extremely quickly and in many cases can reverse a severe bronchospasm (asthmatic episode) within minutes.

Patients who suffer from or are at risk of severe and/or life-threatening asthma attacks are often advised to have an Epinephrine dose handy at all times for such events. Epinephrine is also commonly used in other serious and acute conditions such as severe allergy attacks.


Long Term Control Asthma Medications

Steroids:

Steroids is a general term used to describe a variety of chemical compounds naturally occuring in the human body. More specifically, glucocorticoids (a type of steroid) are often used for asthma and COPD treatment. Steroids generally have anti-inflammatory effects which reduce swelling and inflammation in tissues. This property makes steroids good drugs for treating several types of chronic asthma and COPD as they are generally caused by excess swelling and inflammation of the breathing airways of the lungs.

Beclomethasone

Brand Name(s): QVAR® RediHaler™

Beclomethasone known by the brand name QVAR® is a steroid that slows and prevents the release of inflammation causing chemicals our body naturally releases. These inflammation-causing chemicals can exacerbate the constriction of breathing passages in asthmatic episodes, and worsen chronic asthma symptoms.

Beclomethasone is not meant to stop an asthma attack but is instead used as a prophylactic (preventive) measure against asthma attacks, and should therefore be taken regularly by people with chronic asthma symptoms.


Budesonide

Brand Name(s): Pulmicort Flexhaler®, Pulmicort Respules®

Pulmicort, known under the generic name budesonide, is administered using a nebulizer that allows inhalation of the medication in the form of a light mist but can also administered in the form of a regular inhaler or oral pill. Pulmicort helps control respiratory problem such as wheezing and shortness of breath caused by asthma.

Pulmicort is a corticosteroid that works by directly reducing irritation and swelling of airways in the lungs. This makes it an effective medication for chronic asthma symptoms. Pulmicort or budesonide should not be used for fast-acting relief in the case of an asthma attack but is meant to be used regularly and on a daily basis to reduce the effects of asthma and other chronic respiratory problems.


Ciclesonide

Brand Name(s): Zetonna®, Alvesco®, Omnaris®

Ciclesonide is a glucocorticoid (steroid) which works by reducing swelling and inflammation in breathing airways. Ciclesonide can be taken by oral inhalation (Zetonna®, Alvesco®) or as a nasal spray (Omnaris®).

Ciclesonide is used regularly to treat the symptoms of seasonal (occurs only at certain times of the year), and perennial (occurs all year round) allergic rhinitis. These symptoms include sneezing and stuffy, runny or itchy nose and isn’t meant for asthma attacks.


Flunisolide

Brand Name(s): Aerospan HFA®, Nasalide®

Flunisolide can be used as an inhaler or a nasal spray and is used to treat seasonal or year round asthma symptoms. Flunisolide is a glucocorticoid (steroid) which acts on breathing and airway passages to reduce swelling and inflammation symptoms commonly occuring in asthma patients.


Fluticasone

Brand Name(s): Flovent HFA®, Flovent Diskus®, Arnuity™ Ellipta®, ArmonAir™ RespiClick®

Fluticasone is a steroid that can help alleviate swelling and inflammation of breathing and airway passages. It is often used as an inhaler form and taken in combination with oral steroids. Fluticasone can prevent asthma attacks but cannot treat an asthma attack that has already begun.


Mometasone

Brand Name(s): Asmanex® Twisthaler, Asmanex® HFA

Mometasone is a steroid administered as an inhaler that reduces inflammation and swelling and can help prevent and relieve asthma symptoms. Mometasone should be used regularly on a daily basis, as it is not meant to be used during after an asthma attack has already begun.


Long-Acting Beta Agonists:

Long-acting beta agonists are usually prescribed for sufferers of moderate to severe chronic asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder). They works by relaxing the muscle cells in the lungs and breathing passages making breathing easier. Long-acting beta agonists work over 12 or more hours making them better for relieving chronic asthma and COPD systems as a preventive treatment; opposed to short-acting beta agonists such as albuterol and metaproterenol used for quick relief in asthma attacks whose effects last only 3-4 hours.

Salmeterol

Brand Name(s): Serevent Diskus®

Salmeterol is a a long-acting beta agonist that makes breathing easier by opening up lung airways. Salmeterol comes in inhalar form and is used to prevent and treat symptoms of asthma when taken regularly but should not be used to treat an asthma attack that is already occurring.


Combination Drugs (steroids + long-acting beta agonists):

Steroids are often combined with long-acting beta 2 agonist to create a more effective drug for preventing and alleviating long term chronic asthma and COPD symptoms.

Fluticasone and Salmeterol

Brand Name(s): Advair Diskus®, Advair® HFA, AirDuo RespiClick®

An inhaler used to control and prevent coughing and wheezing symptoms caused by asthma or other chronic lung diseases such as COPD. Advair consists of two medications, fluticasone (a corticosteroid that reduces swelling and irritation of the airways) and salmeterol (a long-acting beta agonist that makes breathing easier by opening up lung airways).

Advair is often prescribed only once other forms of asthma-control medications with one active ingredient are showing to be ineffective on the patient. Advair diskus is not an acute treatment for asthma episodes and needs to be taken regularly on a schedule over time in order to be effective. This means Advair should not be used to relieve an asthma attack; instead a fast-acting inhaler such as albuterol should be used for immediate asthma attack relief.


Fluticasone and Vilanterol

Brand Name(s): Breo Ellipta®

Breo Ellipta is a medication used to prevent and control symptoms of chronic asthma such as trouble breathing and wheezing. It contains fluticasone which is a steroid that reduces inflammation and swelling and can be effective in opening up breathing airways for asthmatics. It also contains vilanterol which is in a class of drugs known as long-acting beta agonists which also works by opening airways in the lungs to make breathing easier but using a different mechanism.


Mometasone and formoterol

Brand Name(s): Dulera®

Dulera is used a medication used to and prevent and control symptoms caused by asthma such as wheezing and trouble breathing.It is a combination drug made out of mometasone and formoterol and is administered as an inhaler.

Mometasone is a corticosteroids which works by reducing the irritation and swelling of the airways. Formoterol is a long-acting beta agonists which makes breathing easier by opening breathing airways. Both drugs work together to control the chronic symptoms of asthma related disease.


Humanized Monoclonal Antibodies:

Antibodies are used to target single specific cells types by binding to receptors called antigens. They can therfore help provide personalized treatment to complex diseases. Several antibodies that act on specific cells and cellular functions in the lungs have been cleared by the FDA as an effective treatment of chronic asthma and COPD symptoms.

Benralizumab

Brand Name(s): Fasenra™

Benralizumab is another prophylactic (preventive) measure against asthma and should be taken regularly as it does not work immediately and should not be used for instant relief. Benralizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody (meaning it is a small protein that can target and change function several types of cells). It is used to target cells deemed important to bronchial and airway function.

Benralizumab is administered by injection under the skin by a healthcare professional. It is given as directed by your doctor, usually once every 4 weeks for the first 3 doses and then once every 8 weeks.


Omalizumab

Brand Name(s): Xolair®

Omalizumab sold under the brand name Xolair is another prophylactic (preventive) measure against moderate to severe asthma and should be taken regularly as it does not work immediately and should not be used for instant relief. Omalizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody (meaning it is a small protein that can target and change function several types of cells). It is used to target cells deemed important to bronchial and airway function.

Omalizumab is administered by injection under the skin by a healthcare professional usually once every 2 or 4 weeks.


Reslizumab

Brand Name(s): Cinqair®

Clinquair is another type of monoclonal antibody used to treat asthma by targeting cells deemed important to bronchial and airway function.

Clinquair is administered by injection under the skin by a healthcare professional usually once every 4 weeks.


Anticholinergics:

Anticholinergics are medications that block the action of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter, or a chemical messenger between cells. It transmits signals between cells to change how your body functions and certain anticholinergics can help relax the muscle of the lungs and prevent flare-ups of asthma or COPD symptoms such as wheezing and trouble breathing.

Tiotropium

Brand Name(s): Spiriva Respimat®

Tiotropium available under the brand name Spiriva is an inhaler used to treat chronic symptoms of asthma such as wheezing or having trouble breathing often caused by ongoing lung disease such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Tiotropium is in a class of drugs called anticholinergics which act as bronchodilators to open the breathing passages of the lungs and let more air in. Tiotropium must be used regularly to be effective and does not work right away. Therefore it should not be used to relieve sudden shortness of breath or an asthma attack that has already begun.


Leukotriene Inhibitors:

Leukotrienes are chemicals released by our bodies when exposed to allergens such as dust. They can cause swelling in the lungs and tightening of the muscles around the breathing airways. By blocking leukotrienes, leukotriene inhibitors can help open breathing airways preventing asthma attacks and alleviating symptoms of chronic asthma.

Montelukast

Brand Name(s): Singulair®

Montelukast is a leukotriene inhibitor. Leukotrienes are chemicals released when exposed to allergens like pollen or cat hair and can cause swelling in your lungs and tightening of the muscles around the breathing airways.

Montelukast is a leukotriene inhibitor. Leukotrienes are chemicals released when exposed to allergens like pollen or cat hair and can cause swelling in your lungs and tightening of the muscles around the breathing airways.


Zafirlukast

Brand Name(s): Accolate®

Zafirlukast is a leukotriene inhibitor. Leukotrienes are chemicals released when exposed to allergens like pollen or cat hair and can cause swelling in your lungs and tightening of the muscles around the breathing airways.

By blocking leukotrienes zafirlukast can help prevent asthma attacks and alleviate symptoms of chronic asthma. Zafirlukast comes as an oral pill and should be taken by mouth on a regular basis to work properly.


Zileuton

Brand Name(s): Zyflo®, Zyflo CR®

Zileuton is an oral pill taken by mouth. It must be taken regularly to be effective. Zileuton inhibits or blocks the enzyme responsible for producing leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are chemicals released when exposed to allergens like pollen or cat hair and can cause swelling in your lungs and tightening of the muscles around the breathing airways.

Zileuton therefore has a similar effect to montelukast and zafirlukast which block the function of the leukotrienes themselves.


Click on the links in the list above to see more information about the asthma medication such as it's warnings, side effects, interactions, and storage instructions.

“MedManage is the perfect app to keep track of your medications and stay on top of your illness.”