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List of Asthma Breathing Treatments

written by: Harry Sylvester • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 10/12/2010

If you have asthma, you may find it difficult at times to breathe freely because of the narrowing that occurs in the airways in the lungs. Learn about several breathing treatments for asthma that can help treat and control symptoms.

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    What is a Breathing Treatment?

    Breathing treatments are medications that help improve respiratory function due to asthma, which is a disease that narrows the airways in the lungs. This narrowing is referred to as bronchospasm. If you have asthma, you may find it difficult at times to breathe freely because less air flows through the airways, thus decreasing oxygen to the lungs. No wonder your chest feels tight. Several symptoms of narrowing are breathing problems, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness. You need to consult with your doctor once you have asthmatic problems so he or she can prescribe the appropriate medications for you.

    The following is a list of several breathing treatments for asthma that can help you cope with this disease:

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    Albuterol (Brand Names: AccuNeb, ProAir, Proventil-HFA, Proventil, Ventolin)

    Albuterol functions as a bronchodilator to increase airflow to the lungs. It is recommended taking this medication as prescribed by your doctor. Avoid exceeding the dose, as it may exacerbate asthmatic symptoms. Types of albuterol include inhalation solution, inhalation aerosol, tablets, syrups, and extended-release tablets. This medication is indicated for the relief of bronchospasm and is contraindicated for the use during pregnancy because congenital defects may occur.

    Side effects of albuterol that might occur include tremor, chest pain, severe headache, anxiety, and shortness of breath.

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    Metaproterenol Inhaler – Oral (Brand Name: Alupent)

    This medication also acts as a bronchodilator to relax the muscle bands that tighten around the airways. Apply it as prescribed before inhaling it. Your medical condition will determine the dosage you should take. Your doctor might suggest you inhale it by mouth every three to four hours. This Inhaler is indicated to treat shortness of breath and wheezing due to asthma. It is contraindicated for the elderly because they are susceptible to have heart problems.

    Side effects include headache, tremor, vomiting, nausea, cough, and trouble sleeping.

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    Beclomethasone Inhaler (Brand Name: Qvar)

    Beclomethasone is a synthetic steroid inhaler that reduces inflammation in the airways. This medication is used to control asthma symptoms that are caused by chronic inflammation. It is contraindicated to treat acute attacks of asthma because it has no immediate effects. You can notice optimal results after using this drug for about two to three weeks.

    Because very small amounts of this medication are absorbed into the body, beclomethasone has fewer side effects than oral steroids. Side effects might include cough, nausea, and headache.

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    Flunisolide – Oral Inhalation (Brand Name: Aerobid)

    Flunisolide is a corticosteroid that also reduces inflammation in the airways. It is used regularly to prevent symptoms and is not to be used to treat asthma attacks. This medication should not be stopped suddenly because this may worsen one's condition. The doses should be gradually decreased. Women who are pregnant should take only when absolutely necessary. Flunisolide may mask signs of infections. It is important that you notify your doctor of any signs of infections such as fever, chills, sore throat, and ear pain.

    Long term use may cause oral thrush. Side effects include hoarseness, headache, a bad taste in the mouth, and voice changes.

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    References

    Medicinenet.com: Asthma Medications - http://www.medicinenet.com/asthma_over_the_counter_treatment/article.htm

    Drugs.com: Albuterol - http://www.drugs.com/albuterol.html