Department of Public Health

Inhaler Inhaler Inhaler Inhaler Inhaler


There are many medications, and your doctor can help determine which one is best for you or your child.  The first medication you try may not be the best one, so it's important to let your doctor know how you feel and if using the medication helps.

Different doctors offer different medications which may have the same or different effect based on the dose and the person.

The following is a list of the types of asthma medications. There are recommendations on when to use certain medications, but should not be used as the only instructions and/or recommendations.

The "Asthma Action Plan" can help you track your medicines and instructions for use.

 Relievers are quick relief asthma medications that are taken to do just what the name implies. They quickly relieve asthma symptoms, including:

  • shortness of breath
  • coughing
  • wheezing

    A Reliever is a medication that a patient might not take on a regular basis, but when the symptoms of asthma arise, it would be the medication that an individual patient would reach for, take a few puffs of the medicine -- usually they're inhalers -- and within 15 or 20 minutes the symptoms are relieved. That's why they're called relievers.

    The most common is inhaled albuterol. Albuterol is the generic name of the medication that's used in inhalants to help people's airways open up. It's also available as product names such as Proventil or Ventolin.

Controller medications are used everyday, whether your child is having symptoms or not.

The object of a controller is to prevent symptoms from developing. So controllers are preventive medicine. The confusion is that some of these are inhaled like the quick relief "Relievers".

Controllers are divided into several classes of medications. Probably the most important is the inhaled cortical steroids. These are inhaled steroid preparations that patients take usually twice a day every day, irrespective of whether they're having symptoms or not. Some of the products are Pulmicort, Flovent, Azmacort, and AeroBid. These are all product names that are inhaled cortical steroids.

There is also a tablet that patients can take. These are called leukotriene modifier agents. These are medications that suppress inflammation, as do steroids, but do so by a slightly different route. Singulair is probably the most commonly used tablet medication.

Picture of Asthma Relievers and Controllers

Source is

 How to use inhaler device

Department of Public Health
Phone: (951) 358-4977 Fax: (951) 358-7165
Nutrition Services - Asthma Program
Riverside County Department of Public Health
4065 County Circle Drive, Riverside CA 92503