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There are a broad range of treatments for asthma, in three categories.


These are medications taken routinely to help keep the airway open and reduce inflammation. They include:

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  • Inhaled corticosteroids such as fluticasone (brand name Flovent)
  • Leukotriene modifiers are oral medications such as montelukast (Singulair)
  • Long-acting beta agonists (LABAs) are inhaled medications such as salmeterol (Serevent Diskus)
  • Combination inhalers that include corticosteroids and LABAs

Quick-relief medications

These rescue meds are used as needed for rapid, short-term symptom relief during an asthma attack. They include:

  • Short-acting beta agonists are inhaled bronchodilators such as albuterol (Ventolin HFA)
  • Oral and intravenous corticosteroids such as prednisone

Allergy treatments

These can include:

  • Immunotherapy injections that gradually reduce your immune system reaction to specific allergens
  • Omalizumab (Xolair), an injectable medication for people with severe asthma and allergies
  • Medications such as oral and nasal spray antihistamines

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About the Author
Public health reporter

André Picard is a health reporter and columnist at The Globe and Mail, where he has been a staff writer since 1987. He is also the author of three bestselling books.André has received much acclaim for his writing. More

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