If doctors could effectively treat your asthma with herbs, vitamins, or special breathing techniques, we would. But, for now, medicine is an essential part of keeping your asthma under control.
The severity of your asthma will indicate to your doctor which medicines you need to take and in what doses. As your asthma worsens, your physician will step up your pharmaceutical treatment plan (i.e., add medicines), an approach that we allergists call step therapy.
- For example, you start asthma treatment with the basic bronchodilator inhaler. If the asthma is controlled, you hold at that level of medication.
- If asthma is still not controlled, you step up to the next level of medication, such as an inhaled steroid medicine. If symptoms are controlled, you hold at that level of medications.
- In a minority of asthma cases, the disease is so severe that you need multiple medications (all the way up to daily oral steroids) before control is achieved.
What is the good news? Most patients with asthma are able to achieve control with one or two daily medications. By consistently taking the medicines prescribed by your doctor—even when you feel well—you will be minimizing asthma flare-ups and maintaining healthy airways.