Asthma Treatments

If you have a diagnosis of asthma, the pulmonary experts at Mount Sinai will create a treatment plan that fits your individual needs and your particular lifestyle. Treatments can include standard therapies like quick-relief bronchodilators, and daily inhaled or oral medications. These medications are designed to minimize your asthma symptoms, prevent asthma attacks, improve your lung function, and enhance your quality of life overall.

Short-term/rescue medications like albuterol, Proventil, Ventolin, Proair, Xopenex, Maxair are inhaled through the mouth and work by relaxing the muscles that line the airway so the airway opens further, and asthma symptoms are relieved. Other rescue medications like ipratropium or Atrovent act on some of the nerves that control airway diameter and increase it by inhaling through the nose. Both types of medications may decrease mucus production, which can clog breathing passages.

Long-term medications, inhaled corticosteroids like Alvesco, Asmanex, Flovent, Pulmicort, and Qvar, are used by patients who have asthma symptoms at least twice a week or attacks at least once a year. These medications can temporarily reverse inflammation and symptoms. When taken regularly these medicines help prevent and control your asthma symptoms.

Often times, your doctors will prescribe a combination of both short- and long-term medications to help you control your asthma.

Other medications are taken orally, such as anti-leukotriene agents (Singulair, Accolate, Zyflo), and xanthines (Theophylline, Theodur, Slobid). Patients with severe allergic asthma may be treated with injectable medications (anti-IgE, Xolair).

Mount Sinai Health System doctors and researchers continuously search for new asthma treatments. Currently, our researchers are investigating how to target pathways in the immune system through inhaled, oral, and injectable medications.

Bronchial thermoplasty is another FDA-approved therapy for treating severe asthma. It delivers radiofrequency energy to the airway, smoothing airway muscle that may be causing an asthmatic reaction.

As part of your individualized asthma treatment plan, you will likely receive a peak flow meter, which provides a portable way for you to assess your lung function on your own. By keeping track of the asthma, you will learn to manage it yourself with guidance from your doctor. With a self-management action plan, you will be prepared to deal with your asthma under all types of conditions.