The use of drugs in the treatment of asthma: main groups and purpose

Asthma medications are represented by two large groups of medications. The first group serves for long-term treatment of the disease. These are the means of basic therapy, asthmatics use them constantly.

The second, no less important for patients, group is medicines for stopping an attack. It is enough to take an emergency remedy, as the symptoms of the disease recede. Groups of drugs have significant differences and application characteristics that every patient with asthma needs to know about.

Bronchial asthma

Bronchial asthma is a non-infectious inflammatory disease of the airways. Pathology is characterized by a narrowing of the lumen of the bronchi, abundant secretion of mucus, which impedes ventilation of the lungs.

Any irritant can provoke an attack – dust, wool, tobacco smoke, chemicals. Asthmatics are constantly at risk of an attack, they have to take asthma medication for a long time and have emergency supplies for choking.

Basic approaches to asthma treatment

Help with the disease today is a comprehensive treatment regimen for bronchial asthma. Therapy includes constant adherence to the antiallergic regimen and treatment with medication and non-medication.

At the same time, the patient’s awareness of the disease and a responsible attitude to medical recommendations play an important role.

Treatment of the disease with a drug method consists in carrying out basic therapy and selecting an effective remedy for stopping seizures. The choice of drugs from a group of drugs for treatment is based on a stepwise approach.

Specific anti-asthma drugs are used for a certain degree of severity of the disease. When the disease worsens, a new, more effective remedy is prescribed. This allows you to control asthma, determine the stages of the disease in a timely manner and avoid an increased drug load on the body.

The main goal of such treatment is to achieve long-term remission with the use of a minimum of drugs. Monitoring the effectiveness of therapy and adjusting drug treatment is carried out every three months.

Non-drug treatment is an important component of complex therapy. Patients are prescribed spa treatment, massage, physiotherapy exercises, physiotherapy procedures. Speleotherapy , climatic treatment gives a good effect .

Forms of asthma medications

The main forms of release of medicines for asthma are aerosols, tablets or capsules, syrups, suspensions, and injections. The most effective in the treatment of diseases of the respiratory tract are medication in the form of aerosols, which are delivered using an inhaler.

These drugs directly reach the focus of pathology – the active substances in a few seconds after spraying are in the trachea and bronchi. In addition, when using aerosols, the effect on the digestive tract is reduced in comparison with the use of tablets, therefore the occurrence of adverse reactions from the gastrointestinal tract is minimized.

Inhalation is used for severe attacks of the disease and to prevent exacerbation. They help the patient to restore ventilation of the lungs and expand the bronchi in the shortest possible time. Medications in the form of inhalation are available in convenient packaging so that you can carry them with you in case of an attack. When the first signs of deterioration appear, an asthmatic person can help himself on his own. This is very important for patients in the acute stage.

Asthma injections are used primarily during an attack. Improvement occurs on average 5-8 minutes after the injection of the solution. Injections are given by doctors, since when administering drugs, it is necessary to strictly observe the dosage – any excess of the dose can lead to consequences such as tachycardia, heart attack. A strict contraindication to the use of injectables is heart failure, suspected heart attack.

Tablets and capsules are used mainly for basic therapy, when the patient must receive medication support for a long time. Means in the form of syrups and suspensions are mainly developed for the treatment of disease in young patients.

Basic therapy

The concept of basic therapy appeared at the moment when it became known that bronchial asthma has an inflammatory origin in its etiology.

Therefore, the removal of symptoms does not lead to getting rid of the disease – here it is necessary to apply a completely different approach, the basic principles are used in basic therapy.

The goal of basic treatment is to control the disease as completely as possible. It can be ensured if you select effective drugs for the treatment of bronchial asthma, taking into account the specifics of the patient’s disease.

To achieve the goal, it is not enough to use bronchodilators – they help only to relieve symptoms, therefore they fade into the background. To achieve significant improvements and long-term remission (more than three months), it is necessary to carry out basic therapy.

A variety of products allows you to choose the optimal treatment for each patient. Basic therapy drugs are classified as follows:

  • hormonal drugs;
  • non-hormonal agents;
  • cromones ;
  • inhaled glucocorticosteroid drugs;
  • beta2-adrenergic agonists;
  • antileukotriene medicines.

The result of the correct selection of drugs for basic therapy is control over bronchial asthma, prevention of relapses and prolongation of the remission period, improvement of the quality of life of an asthmatic person.

Hormonal agents

The use of hormonal agents in asthma therapy is a matter of debate, since the question of choosing a dosage remains unresolved. It is impossible to base asthma therapy only on hormones or to do without them at all, the most important thing is to include hormones in the basic therapy in the amount optimal for the patient.

Since its inception, hormonal drugs have become a lifesaver for patients. But due to the manifestation of negative reactions, the use of hormones began to be limited. To date, the optimal form of release of hormonal agents in the form of aerosols has been developed, which allows patients to avoid such complications from hormones as weight gain, fragility of blood vessels and a decrease in bone density.

Of the hormonal drugs against bronchial asthma, you can list Budesonide Sintaris Azmakort Ventolin Beclomethasone Flixotide Salbutamol .

Non-hormonal drugs

Non-hormonal drugs for asthma are used as additional agents in the basic therapy of the disease. These are combined drugs with a predominantly bronchodilatory effect, their big plus is a slight negative effect on other systems and organs.

Non-hormonal agents include Foradil Serevent Salmecort Singlon Symbicort Tubuhaler , Zenheil and Tevacomb .


Cromones are anti-inflammatory drugs based on cromoglycic acid. Today, this group of drugs is actively used in the treatment of patients with bronchial asthma. Cromones do not have a symptomatic effect and are intended for long-term use; they are used as an element of basic therapy. The effect of using cromones is cumulative. Medicines of this group:

  • stabilize the membranes of mast cells involved in the inflammatory process;
  • block the release of inflammatory mediators – leukotrienes , prostaglandin, bradykinin , histamine;
  • prevent bronchospasm, allergic and inflammatory reactions in the body.

Side effects when using cromones are rare, therefore this group of drugs is included even in the basic therapy of bronchial asthma in children. Representatives of the group Cromones are Ketoprofen, Intal , ketotifen , Tayled , Cromolyn .

Antileukotriene drugs

Antileukotriene drugs are designed to fight inflammatory mediators. Leukotrienes are specific bioactive substances that play an important role in the onset of bronchial asthma. Under their influence in the body:

  • there is a spasm of smooth muscles;
  • the secretion of mucous discharge increases;
  • increased vascular permeability;
  • puffiness occurs.

To eliminate such reactions, antileukotriene drugs are used for bronchial asthma – they are ways to block both the initial and late stages of an allergic reaction to an irritant.

Antileukotriene drugs can be direct 5-lipoxygenase inhibitors or cysteineleukotriene antagonists . The drugs in this group include Zileuton Pranlukast Montelukast Zafirlukast . Medication is prescribed for long-term asthma treatment.

Systemic glucocorticoids

Glucocorticoid drugs have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, but do not contribute to the expansion of the bronchi. That is why they are prescribed to relieve attacks if bronchodilators fail to cope with asthma.

The drugs are effective in both low and high dosages. They are used mainly for exacerbation of asthma, but not as an emergency aid, since the effect of the use of funds occurs no earlier than six hours later.

Due to adverse reactions, glucocorticoids are not prescribed for long-term use – the funds are included in the basic therapy, but the duration of the course is strictly limited.

A quick withdrawal can provoke a new attack, at the same time, prolonged use leads to a violation of the pituitary-adrenal function in the body. Glucocorticoid drugs are Dexamethasone, Methylprednisolone , Prednisolone.


Beta2-adrenergic agonists are used as the main drugs for the treatment of the disease, they help to stop attacks of bronchial asthma.

Representatives of this group can have a short effect and be used in an attack, as well as a long-term effect – such funds are included in basic therapy. Mostly produced in the form of aerosols, since it is more convenient to use bronchodilator drugs for asthma.

Since medications also have side effects, the selection of the drug must be approached with caution. In rare cases, drugs can provoke disturbances in the work of the heart, blood vessels, and cause anxiety.

The medicines in this group include Salamol Eco, Berotek Oxis Turbuhaler , Onbrez Breezhaler , Clenbuterol .

Drugs for the relief of asthma attacks

Although the drugs used for asthma attacks do not cure the disease itself, they are symptomatic medicines, but they are extremely important for patients during exacerbations of the disease.

An increasing attack of bronchial asthma can provoke suffocation, and if the patient is not provided with timely assistance, then he is in danger of death. That is why the requirements for medicines for bronchial asthma are extremely high.


Sympathomimetics are drugs that do not block the inflammatory response in the respiratory tract. They are able to act on adrenergic receptors , which also determines their therapeutic effect.

They use drugs to stop an attack, suffocation, when the mucous membrane of the bronchi swells and contributes to their obstruction.

Medicines in this group can be selective or effective . Universal sympathomimetics act on both alpha and beta adrenergic receptors . Representatives of universal remedies are ephedrine and adrenaline.

Selective sympathomimetics act only on beta- adrenergic receptors and cause fewer adverse reactions, such drugs include Isoprenaline Terbutaline Orciprenaline Formoterol and others.

M- cholinergic receptor blockers

M- cholinergic receptors increase muscle tone and enhance the response of the bronchi to external irritation. To suppress their effect, patients are recommended to use m- anticholinergics – a special group of drugs that relieve bronchospasm.

Bronchodilators for bronchial asthma can help a patient with an exacerbation of the disease.

Prescribe m- anticholinergics for the following indications:

  • with the ineffectiveness of inhaled drugs – adrenostimulants ;
  • with intolerance to adrenostimulants ;
  • if the secretion of mucus in the bronchi is increased;
  • with psychogenic bronchospasm.

Holinoblockers are slow-acting. They are able to affect an attack on average after 10 minutes and have a positive effect for another 6 hours. The drugs also have side effects – tachycardia, vision problems, dry mouth.

The drugs in this group include Atrovent, Itrop Vagos Ventilat Combivent .


Medicines to combat allergies are also used in the treatment of the disease, since bronchospasm is provoked when a large amount of histamine is released in the patient’s body.

Antiallergic drugs are able to bind the released histamine in the smooth muscle of the bronchi. Thus, bronchospasm is prevented and inflammation is relieved.

Antihistamines for bronchial asthma are used as a preventive measure for exacerbation of the disease. These are Tinset Pipolfen Diprazin Tamagon Histadin Trexil Teridin Cetirizine Terfenadine .

Evaluation of the effectiveness of treatment

Patients with bronchial asthma are registered at the dispensary, they undergo regular medical examinations for constant correction of therapy.

If breathing improves after three months of monitoring, doctors reduce the dosage of medications for asthma. Therapy is considered effective if it was possible:

  • reduce the frequency of exacerbations;
  • lengthen periods of remission;
  • reduce the need for short-acting drugs;
  • improve lung ventilation.

General recommendations

If the results improve, we can talk about the success of therapy, but not its end. Asthmatics have to take drugs all their lives, but the dosage of drugs can be changed depending on the dynamics of the disease. Correction of therapy is carried out only by a doctor.

Do not forget that the medications used for asthma should be prescribed according to a strict scheme, because the patient’s health condition depends on this. Even with long-term remission, it is necessary to constantly carry drugs to relieve seizures, and the supply of drugs for long-term treatment should be optimal.

When taking other medications, it is necessary to consider their interaction with anti-asthma medications. If in doubt, you should consult a doctor.

Patients should understand that with a variety of basic therapies, success can be achieved in the treatment of the disease. Therefore, not only treatment plays a huge role, but also preventive measures, restorative measures that will help achieve significant improvements and get rid of seizures.


To date, asthma treatment is carried out using multi-stage patient care schemes, depending on the severity of the pathology.

This makes it possible to carry out rational therapy of the disease and prescribe medications for asthma, which can significantly alleviate the patient’s health and improve the quality of life without unnecessary drug burden on the body.

Moreover, even with severe stages of the disease, long-term remission can be achieved.

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