1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Common Asthma Medicines

What You Need To Know About Asthma Inhalers & Drugs


Updated May 21, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Your asthma medicines will vary in a number of different ways, such as the route of delivery, frequency, and dose. Asthma inhalers are inhaled directly into the lung, while some asthma drugs are taken by mouth. It is important that you not only know the correct dose and frequency of all your asthma medicines, but also the potential side effects and how to prevent them.

If you do not see your asthma drugs here or want to learn more, you can check out Drugs A to Z.

  • Advair
    Advair is one of the controller asthma medicines that combine two drugs into one inhaler (containing both an inhaled steroid and a long acting beta agonist). This is one of the options when an inhaled steroid alone does not adequately control your asthma. A few studies have suggested the possibility of using a combination product as your only inhaler for both control and acute symptoms.

  • Albuterol
    Albuterol is a quick-relief or rescue medicine that relieves acute asthma symptoms. It is a type of drug called a bronchodilator. If you use this asthma medicine too often (e.g. more than twice per week), it is a sign of poorly controlled asthma. Your doctor may need to adjust your asthma plan as a result.

  • Asmanex Twisthaler
    The Asmanex Twisthaler contains the inhaled steroid mometasone furoate. Asmanex, like a number of other asthma drugs, blocks the action of cells in the pathophysiology of asthma.

  • Flovent
    Flovent is an asthma drug containing the steroid fluticasone propionate, one of the components of Advair. This is a controller medicine that will reduce inflammation in your airways, but needs to be taken daily to improve your asthma.

  • Prednisone
    Oral steroids, also called systemic corticosteroids, are often used when you develop an asthma exacerbation or attack. This form of steroids for asthma is different from inhaled steroids because it affects the whole body.

  • Pulmicort
    Pulmicort is a controller asthma medicine. Pulmicort is a first-line treatment when you need more than occasional use of your rescue inhaler. Pulmicort can be prescribed by itself or combined with another asthma drug, like a long-acting beta agonist, to prevent asthma symptoms.

  • Qvar
    Qvar contains the steroid beclamethasone dipropionate. Like other inhaled steroids, Qvar is considered a first-line treatment to control asthma symptoms when you need to use your rescue inhaler more than twice per week. Qvar is prescribed by itself, but your doctor may have you also take a long-acting beta agonist.

  • Singulair
    Singulair (monteleukast) is used as an alternate therapy for the treatment of mild persistent asthma. Singulair can also be used for the prevention of exercise-induced asthma and in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis.

  • Slo-Bid (Theophylline)
    Theophylline is a drug in a class called methylxanthines. With the advent of newer asthma medicines, theophylline is not commonly used today. This asthma drug improves symptoms through its action as a muscle relaxant. It opens up constricted airways and may have mild anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Symbicort
    Symbicort is a combination asthma medicine that contains budesonide and formoterol.

  • Xolair
    Xolair has been shown to decrease frequency of asthma attacks in moderate persistent and severe persistent asthmatics, and decrease or eliminate the need for other asthma medications.

  • Xopenex
    Xopenex is a rescue inhaler, like Albuterol, used to relieve acute asthma symptoms. It can improve bronchoconstriction and shortness of breath.

Asthma Medicine FAQs


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed: April 3, 2011. Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Asthma
  4. Treatment Options
  5. Common Inhalers and Medicines for Asthma

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.