Long-Acting Beta Agonists
Long-acting beta agonists relax the muscle bands that surround the airways (bronchodilation) and allow you to breathe in and out more easily. These medicines can improve asthma control only when used in combination with an inhaled corticosteroid medicine. They are used every day, even when there are no asthma symptoms.
Long-acting beta agonists are not rescue medicines and do not relieve sudden asthma symptoms. They are often used in people who have asthma symptoms at night or used to prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms.
If you are using a rescue medicine frequently and are taking an inhaled corticosteroid, your doctor may prescribe a long-acting beta agonist.
Examples: Serevent ® (salmeterol) and Foradil ® (formoterol)
- Prevent asthma symptoms from occurring
- Can reduce and/or prevent:
- Inflammation and scarring in the airways
- Tightening of the muscle bands around the airways (bronchospasm)
- Do not show immediate results, but work slowly over time
- Should be taken daily, even when you are not having symptoms
- Should NOT be used to relieve immediate asthma symptoms
According to the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program at the National Institutes of Health, long-term controller medicines should be considered when infants or young children have had three or more episodes of wheezing in the previous year and who are at an increased risk of developing asthma because of their own or their parents' history of allergic diseases. They also recommend long-term controller medicines for children who need short-acting bronchodilators (rescue medicines) more than twice a week or have had severe asthma symptoms less than six weeks apart. Without a controller medicine, the underlying inflammation will continue to cause more asthma symptoms.
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