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Medications for asthma are categorized into two general classes: long-term control medications used to achieve and maintain control of persistent asthma and quick-relief medications used to treat acute symptoms and exacerbations.
Long-term control medications (listed in alphabetical order)
Corticosteroids: Block late-phase reaction to allergen, reduce airway hyperresponsiveness, and inhibit inflammatory cell migration and activation. They are the most potent and effective anti-inflammatory medication currently available (Evidence A). ICSs are used in the long-term control of asthma. Short courses of oral systemic corticosteroids are often used to gain prompt control of the disease when initiating long-term therapy; long-term oral systemic corticosteroid is used for severe persistent asthma.
Cromolyn sodium and nedocromil: Stabilize mast cells and interfere with chloride channel function. They are used as alternative, but not preferred, medication for the treatment of mild persistent asthma (Evidence A). They can also be used as preventive treatment prior to exercise or unavoidable exposure to known allergens.
Immunomodulators: Omalizumab (anti-IgE) is a monoclonal antibody that prevents binding of IgE to the high-affinity receptors on basophils and mast cells. Omalizumab is used as adjunctive therapy for patients ≥12 years of age who have allergies and severe persistent asthma (Evidence B). Clinicians who administer omalizumab should be prepared and equipped to identify and treat anaphylaxis that may occur (see discussion in text).
To be continued…
Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute