Understanding your medication
Asthma preventer medications generally come in orange-brown plastic dispensers. These medications are designed to help reduce inflammation and are the first line of defence in asthma management. Preventer medications work locally in lung mucosa. They help reduce inflammation by overriding the body’s immune response.
Preventer medications can take up to 72 hours to reach full effect and should be taken every day to properly manage your asthma. Flixotide and Pulmicort are the most common brands prescribed in New Zealand and dose will depend on your doctor’s assessment of your asthma severity.
Flix 25, 50, 125, 250
Pulmicort 200, 400
Asthma reliever medications work by helping to relax smooth muscle wrapped around your airways to relieve the broncho-constriction during an acute asthma attack. These medications should only be used as needed. Over-use of reliever medications can lead to a rapid decline and worsening of asthma symptoms (see Warnings on Common Asthma Drugs). If reliever use exceeds 3-4 puffs per week you should discuss changes to your asthma plan with your GP.
Long-acting relievers (Symptom controllers)
If your asthma is moderate to severe, your GP may have prescribed more potent drugs: Serevent, Oxis, Seretide or Symbicort
These asthma drugs, known as long-acting beta agonists (LABAs) either alone or in combination with a corticosteroid, contain stronger, longer-acting reliever medications sometimes referred to as symptom controllers.
Unlike the short-acting beta agonists like Ventolin and Brycanyl, these LABAs work for up to 12 hours helping to keep the airways open.
It is important to know that these medications are not an asthma cure. They are designed to control the symptoms of asthma. You will probably need to take them daily for the rest of your life unless you address the cause of your asthma.
It is rare to hear of anyone having taken asthma medications that went on to be asthma free and no longer requiring their medication. So, can you ever give up your medications? Welcome to Buteyko »
Note on medications:
Buteyko Breathing Clinic practitioners work with your doctor to help you achieve the best possible control of your asthma. We advise our clients to consult their doctor before making any changes to prescribed medication.