If you are diagnosed with asthma, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan to manage your asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. Treatment usually depends on your age, asthma severity, and response to a given treatment option. Your doctor may adjust your treatment until asthma symptoms are controlled.
Most people are treated long-term with daily controller(s), along with another inhaler for short-term relief, when they have symptoms or to prevent symptoms. An inhaler allows the medicine to go into the mouth and airways.
Watch our video to learn about treatment for asthma.
Short-term relief medicines, also called quick-relief medicines, help prevent symptoms or relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. They may be the only medicines needed for mild asthma or asthma that happens only with physical activity.
Your doctor will prescribe a quick-relief inhaler for you to carry at all times. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn how to use your asthma inhaler correctly.
Types of short-term relief medicines include:
Your doctor may prescribe long-term control medicines to take daily to help prevent symptoms by reducing airway inflammation and preventing narrowing of the airways. Treatment with specific control medicines may differ depending on age, such as whether the person is an adult or child. Return to Causes to review what causes asthma symptoms.
Control medicines include the following.
If you have a severe asthma attack and need emergency care, you may be treated with medicines, such as those listed above, given with a nebulizer or IV. You may also receive oxygen therapy or breathing assistance. This may include ventilator support or through a mask with forced air.
In certain cases, your doctor may recommend a procedure called bronchial thermoplasty if you are 18 years or older and have severe asthma that remains uncontrolled despite using other treatments. In this procedure, your doctor will insert a bronchoscope into your airway through the mouth or the nose. This helps your doctor see inside the airways. Heat is used to reduce the muscle around the airway to help prevent constriction. Read more about bronchial thermoplasty in our fact sheet.