Quick Relief Medications
Pharmacological management is divided into those used for quick relief of symptoms and those for long term control. These drugs are for a quick relief of symptoms.
• Short-acting β-agonist (SABA), such as albuterol, are the most effective bronchodilators during exacerbations.
• Anticholinergic agent such as ipratropium bromide. They reverse vagally mediated bronchospasm but not allergen- or exercise-induced bronchospasm. They may decrease mucus gland hypersecretion. It is the inhaled drug of choice for patients with intolerance to beta-2-agonists or with bronchospasm due to beta-blocker medications.
• Systemic corticosteroids are effective primary treatment for patients with moderate to severe asthma exacerbations and for patients with exacerbations who do not respond promptly and completely to inhaled beta-2-agonist therapy. These medications speed the resolution of airflow obstruction and reduce the rate of relapse.
• Phosphodiesterase inhibitors such as theophylline are not recommended for therapy of asthma exacerbations.