There are several different classes of drugs that treat asthma. Asthma treatment is specific to each individual. Take side effects and warnings into consideration before choosing the therapy that’s right for you.

Long Term Medication/Controllers

Taking a long-term medication is the best way to keep asthma under control on a daily basis and prevent serious attacks.


  • Long Acting Beta Agonists: Contains adrenaline that keeps the breathing passages open for 12 hours or more. Typically inhaled.
  • Inhaled Corticosteroid: Acts locally by concentrating their effects directly within breathing passages
  • Leukotriene: These oral medications inhibit the chemical substances that promote inflammatory response during acute attacks.
  • Methylxanthines: A long-acting bronchodilator

Quick Relief Medication/Rescue Medicines

Quick relief asthma medications provide just that: fast-acting relief from asthma symptoms. These medications should only be used occasionally. Talk to your doctor if you are using your inhaler more often than recommended.


  • Short-acting beta-agonists: Opens breathing passages in minutes. The effects usually last for only 4 hours.
  • Anticholinergics: Takes slightly longer than beta-agonists to achieve an effect, but has a longer-lasting relief
  • Oral and Intravenous Corticosteroids: Relieves airway inflammation caused by severe attacks

Allergic Asthma Medications

When asthma is caused by allergies, you may be prescribed different asthma medications to treat the allergy symptoms separately.


  • Omalizumab: Given by injection every 2-4 weeks, this drug works to change the immune system and help alleviate symptoms.
  • Cromolyn Sodium: Generally inhaled before exposure to an allergen. Does not work once an attack has begun