Bronchodilators: a remedy for acute Asthma symptoms
One of the most common medications that is used to treat asthma is the bronchodilator. Quick-acting bronchodilators are used only for the rapid “rescue” of asthma in an acute attack. And long-acting bronchodilators are taken daily to control the course of the disease. Bronchodilators expand the bronchi, which ensures a normal circulation of oxygen. Bronchodilators also help clear the lungs of mucus. Since the airways are open, the mucus freely moves and easily expectorates.
What type of bronchodilator stops the exacerbation of asthma symptoms?
There are three types of bronchodilators:
These medications can be in the form of inhalers, tablets, liquid medications, and injections, but the best way to take a beta-agonist and anticholinergics through inhalers.
What is fast-acting bronchodilator?
Fast-acting bronchodilators are called “for relief of symptoms”, instantaneous or “analgesic” remedies. Bronchodilator quickly removes the severity of the attack, opening the airways. Instant drugs are used for sudden exacerbation of the disease. Inhalation medicine begins to act a few minutes after inhalation and the effect last 2-4 hours. Bronchodilators in inhalers should be taken 15-20 minutes before the onset of physical exertion (with asthma stress).
Quick-acting bronchodilators can also be used in aerosols to stop an asthma attack at home. As for tablets, they have much fewer advantages compared to inhalers. Since they have many side effects due to the fact that tableted bronchodilators need to be taken in large doses and before they enter the lungs they pass through the blood. And inhalation bronchodilators fall directly into the lungs and cause fewer side effects.
An overdose of rapid bronchodilators, in inhalers, tablets or in liquid form, is a sign of an unstable course of the disease, which requires more aggressive intervention. If you have to use the bronchodilator more than twice a week, consult a doctor about changing the treatment program.
What is long-acting bronchodilator?
Long-acting bronchodilators are used to maintain asthma at a specific level (and not for a quick stopping of an attack). The action of the bronchodilator lasts up to 12 hours. Those bronchodilators, which contain formoterol, begin to act after a few minutes, and those that contain salmeterol – after 45 minutes.
Long-acting bronchodilators should be taken twice a day. But regular use of bronchodilators without an additional inhaled steroid increases the risk of death. For more detailed information, read the instructions.
Are side effects frequent when taking bronchodilator?
Bronchodilators act as stimulants and can be accompanied by such side effects:
- Overexcitation or hyperactivity
- Stomach upset
- Problems with sleep (insomnia)
- Pain or muscle cramping
How does anticholinergic bronchodilator work?
An anticholinergic agent is a bronchodilator that is used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema) caused by smoking. Such drugs are approved for the treatment of acute asthma attacks with urgent hospitalization, but not for daily treatment or under any other conditions. They are rarely effective than albuterol.
Atrovent (anticholinergic bronchodilator) is available as an inhaler and also as an aerosol solution. Dryness in the throat is the most common side effect. If the medicine gets into the eyes, then for a while the vision may get worse – the visible will be blurred and fuzzy. An anticholinergic ultra-long-acting agent is available for patients who suffer from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by smoking. But this medicine is not approved for treatment, which controls the course of asthma.
Is theophylline bronchodilator?
Teofilin – a relatively weak in action and inexpensive bronchodilator, which in chemical composition resembles caffeine. Theophylline makes the heart, the central nervous system, and skeletal muscles work and also relaxes the smooth muscles, including the muscles of the respiratory tract. Teofilin is sometimes used together with anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent the worsening of symptoms of nocturnal asthma.
Theophylline is sold in the form of conventional tablets or under the brand names Uniphyl, Theo-Dur, Slo-Bid and Theo-24 and is available for oral (tablet or liquid) or intravenous (via vein) use. Theophylline is a long-acting agent that prevents asthma attacks. Theophylline is also used to treat difficult-to-control asthma or serious symptoms and should be taken on a daily basis.
Side effects of theophylline
Side effects of theophylline include:
- Nausea and / or vomiting
- Stomach ache
- Frequent or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle cramps
- Nervousness or anxiety
Side effects of theophylline may also be a sign of drug overdose. The attending physician should check the level of the medicine in the blood to make sure that you are taking the right amount of medicine.
The attending physician should always be aware of if you are taking theophylline, since some medicines, such as antibiotics containing erythromycin, a substance against an epileptic fit, can affect the effect of theophylline. Also, make sure that your doctor knows exactly about your condition, since some diseases can change the body’s response to theophylline.
And do not forget that smoking and cigarette smoke not only exacerbate the symptoms of asthma, but can also affect the body’s response to theophylline. In any case, it is better not to smoke and avoid passive smoking.
Are there OTC medicines for asthma?
OTC drugs for asthma (for example, Primatene Mist and Bronkaid) contain adrenaline, which relaxes the muscle tissue surrounding the airways. They provide short-term relief, but do not help in controlling the illness or stopping an asthma attack. People with high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid or cardiovascular disease should not take epinephrine or medications containing ephedrine.
If you use a bronchodilator to treat asthma, but it does not work well, or you have to take it more than twice a week, consult your doctor, pharmacologist or asthma consultant. There are other drugs that will help you control the disease and live a full life.