In the US, over 25 million Americans have asthma. While for some, it’s a mild enough condition to just be an annoyance, for others, it can be so serious that they risk death at times.
If you fall into the latter group, then your condition may be bad enough to significantly impact your quality of life. You may be wondering about what treatments and medications you should try.
In this article, we’ll discuss some severe asthma treatments and medications so you can get yours under control.
What Is Asthma?
By first understanding exactly what asthma is, then you’ll have a better grasp of why certain treatments and medications will help you.
Asthma is a type of lung disease where there’s inflammation triggered by certain allergens or other things in the air. Some common symptoms that appear when an asthma attack begins are coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and trouble breathing.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma, and it’s a life-long condition. But if you get on the right combination of treatments and medications, then you can regain control over your life and prevent attacks from happening.
Severe Asthma Treatments
Treatment plans for severe asthma sufferers will depend on their personal situations. This is why it’s important for you to consistently have open discussions with your doctor, as he/she can come up with a plan to help you out when or if your symptoms get worse.
Obviously, one way to treat your asthma is to avoid triggers. This can be things like pet dander, dust, mold, and pollen.
However, avoiding triggers isn’t always possible. For that, you’ve probably been prescribed a rescue inhaler. This is a bronchodilator, which means it helps open up your airways.
Below are some of the common rescue inhalers you’ll come across.
As the name suggests, these will give you quick relief. You can use them right before you exercise if your asthma attacks come on from physical activity.
As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t be using these more than twice a week. If you find yourself doing so, let your doctor know so they can adjust your prescription.
Often, when you have an asthma attack, your lungs and airways will become clogged with mucus, which further hinders your ability to breathe. Anticholinergics will help clear that mucus, but will take a little longer to work than short-acting beta-agonists.
You may be prescribed some oral corticosteroids to take when you have attacks. These will help reduce the swelling in your airways to help you breathe better.
Combination Quick-Relief Medicines
These contain both an anticholinergic and short-acting beta-agonist. They can either be an inhaler or a nebulizer.
If your asthma attacks are triggered by allergies, then ask your doctor if allergy shots would help.
Other Treatment Methods
In addition to taking prescription medications and avoiding triggers, there are some alternative treatments you can try to manage your lung disease. They include:
- Breathing exercises
- Herbal and natural remedies (Black seed oil, caffeine, choline, pycnogenol)
Severe Asthma Medications
If you find your asthma attacks are getting out of control and they’re happening frequently, despite using the above treatments, then you’ll probably need to use long-term control medications.
Read on to find out which medications your doctor might put you on to make your asthma less disruptive to your daily life.
Long-Acting Beta-Agonists and Anticholinergics
These are like the short-acting ones, but you take them on a daily basis to keep your asthma under control. These lower the chances of your airways swelling up and producing mucus.
Leukotriene Modifiers and Mast Cell Stabilizers
This medication works to block (leukotriene modifiers) and reduce the production (mast cell stabilizers) of the chemicals in your body that make your lungs and airways swell.
This medication isn’t usually used on its own. Instead, it’s an extra to your other prescriptions to help address stubborn symptoms that won’t go away.
For very extreme cases, you might need to get an immunomodulator, which is a shot. Physicians usually don’t prescribe this unless your symptoms aren’t responding to your other medications. Below are the ones you’ll see:
- Reslizumab (Cinqair): You’ll get this injection every month through an hour-long IV. It targets eosinophils (a type of white blood cell), which causes asthma symptoms; by reducing these, it can lower your chances of severe asthma attacks.
- Mepolizumab (Nucala): This is also an injection you’ll get every month. Like reslizumab, mepolizumab reduces the number of eosinophils you have in your bloodstream, which can then reduce your symptoms.
- Omalizumab (Xolair): Omalizumab is an antibody, which means it’ll help block allergens from irritating your body. In particular, it blocks immunoglobulin E (IgE). You’ll receive this drug as an injection if you have elevated IgE levels.
Lead a More Normal Life by Using These Severe Asthma Treatments and Medications
Severe asthma treatments and medications can be quite expensive in the US. Add on the fact that asthma isn’t curable and needs to be managed over your lifetime, and it can make quite a dent in your wallet.
One way you can ease your financial burdens is to look for high-quality medications from somewhere other than the US. For example, Canadian online pharmacies like The Canadian Drugstore can provide you with identical medications, but for cheaper.
By shopping wisely, you can get the same prescription drugs as you’ve been getting in the United States, but for much cheaper. Do yourself a favor and start saving today.
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