Asthma Medications (cont.)
Syed Shahzad Mustafa, MD
After growing up in the Rochester area, Dr. Mustafa pursued his undergraduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and attended medical school at SUNY Buffalo. He then completed his internal medicine training at the University of Colorado and stayed in Denver to complete his fellowship training in allergy and clinical immunology at the University of Colorado, National Jewish Health, and Children's Hospital of Denver.
Allison Ramsey, MD
Dr. Allison Ramsey earned her undergraduate degree at Colgate University and her medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She completed her internal medicine training at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and remained at the university to complete her fellowship training in allergy and clinical immunology. Dr. Ramsey is board certified in internal medicine and allergy and immunology. Her professional interests include the treatment of drug allergy and eosinophilic disorders. She also enjoys teaching medical trainees. She is a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the New York State Allergy Society, and the Finger Lakes Allergy Society. In her personal life, her interests include exercise, especially running and horseback riding; and spending time with her husband and two children.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Who is a candidate for asthma medication?
- What are controller medications for asthma (long-term control)?
- What are rescue medications for asthma (short-term control)?
- What are the different forms of medications (pills, inhalers, nebulizers) to treat asthma?
- What are the specific controller medications for asthma?
- What are over-the-counter (OTC) asthma medications?
- What are asthma medication guidelines?
- What are the potential risks and side effects of drugs used to treat asthma?
- What are the various kinds of asthma medications for toddlers and children?
- What kinds of asthma medications are safe to use in pregnancy?
- Find a local Asthma & Allergy Specialist in your town
What are the potential risks and side effects of drugs used to treat asthma?
Common side effects of short-acting asthma medications (albuterol, levalbuterol) are a feeling of jitteriness, tremors, and/or heart palpitations. Hyperactivity can also occur, particularly in children.
The two most common side effects of inhaled corticosteroids are hoarseness or thrush, which is an overgrowth of yeast in the mouth. It is therefore recommended that patients using inhaled corticosteroids rinse their mouth after use. These side effects can also be minimized with proper inhaler technique. There is often concern about potential long-term side effects for inhaled corticosteroids. Numerous studies have repeatedly shown that even long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids has very few, if any, sustained significant side effects, including changes in bone health, decreased growth, or weight gain. However, the goal always remains to treat all individuals with the least amount of medication that is effective. Patients with asthma should be routinely reassessed for any appropriate changes to their medical regimen. Although uncommon, the combination asthma medications may also cause palpitations or a sense of jitteriness due to the long-acting beta-agonists.
Montelukast, the leukotriene modifier medication, may cause mood changes or sleep disturbance, particularly in children. Zileuton may cause liver inflammation, so health-care professionals should periodically monitor liver blood tests.
Omalizumab is generally a well-tolerated medication. Patients may experience some local irritation at the injection site. There is also a warning about the possibility of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) occurring with use of omalizumab. It is recommended that patients on this medication have injectable epinephrine to use in the rare case this occurs. Omalizumab should also always be administered in a health-care facility. Mepolizumab and reslizumab are also generally well-tolerated medications. Patients may experience irritation at the injection or infusion site.
Tiotropium may cause dry mouth or irritation of the throat. Theophylline may cause a sense of restlessness. It also can interact with other non-asthma medications so its use requires regular monitoring of blood levels.
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