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Asthma Medications

We have options when it comes to the type of medications for your asthma

Types of Treatments

If you have been diagnosed with Asthma, COPD (Emphysema), Chronic Bronchitis, and or Reactive Airways (RAD) you know what it feels like to gasp for air, have a chronic cough, hear wheezing from your chest, or feel tightness in your chest. The goal of asthma medications is to prevent symptoms like these from happening.

There are two general classes of asthma medications: quick-relief rescue and long-term maintenance control medications. Controller asthma medications are meant to be used daily to keep your airways healthy, even if you are not experiencing symptoms. With inhaled medications, the medicine is delivered directly to your bronchial tubes, helping to open your airways. These medicines have fewer side effects compared to others that are taken by mouth or by injection.

Asthma Medications

There are several asthma medications available in inhaled form. The medicines prescribed are known as inhaled corticosteroids, also referred to as topical corticosteroids or glucocorticosteroids. These are anti-inflammatory medications that have been used successfully to treat asthma for over 50 years. Treating inflammation is the hallmark to controlling and improving your symptoms.

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Inhaled Medications

There are several asthma medications available in inhaled form. The medicines prescribed are
known as inhaled corticosteroids, also referred to as topical corticosteroids or glucocorticosteroids.
These are anti-inflammatory medications that have been used successfully to treat asthma for over
50 years. These types of steroids are very different from the ones abused by some athletes to
enhance their performance. These asthma medications reduce many forms of airway inflammation.
Treating inflammation is the hallmark to controlling and improving your symptoms. By decreasing
how much mucus you produce, airway hypersensitivity, swelling and tightening of your bronchial
tubes you will breathe easier.

Your asthma management plan may include taking inhaled corticosteroids even when you feel well.
This is because the medications can prevent you from having an asthma flare-up or prevent your
symptoms from becoming worse.

Examples of inhaled corticosteroids are beclomethasone, budesonide, ciclesonide, flunisolide,
fluticasone, mometasone and triamcinolone. It is important to rinse, gargle and spit with water after
each dose of inhaled steroids.

Bronchodilators are non-steroid medications that help open up your airways by relaxing small
muscles that tighten them. Some bronchodilators are rapid-acting, and some are long-acting.
The rapid-acting bronchodilators are used as “rescue” medications to immediately relieve your
asthma symptoms, and include albuterol, levalbuterol, pirbuterol, terbutaline and ipratropium.
Although they make you feel better and breathe easier in the short term, these drugs commonly do
not solve the underlying problems that lead your asthma symptoms to appear.

If you regularly need these “rescue” medications more than two times per week, your asthma isn’t
being properly controlled or there is something else going on that is causing your airways to be
blocked. See your allergist to discuss your treatment.

Salmeterol and formoterol are long-acting beta 2-agonist bronchodilators (also known as LABAs)
that are ordinarily meant to be used together with an anti-inflammatory medication on a regular
(daily), rather than as-needed, basis. Each of these long-acting bronchodilators is available in
combination with a corticosteroid within one inhaler, or by themselves in the nebulized form.
Non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications, such as cromolyn or nedocromil, reduce inflammation
and can help prevent asthma symptoms. These drugs are extremely safe but are less effective than
inhaled corticosteroids.

Rush Immunotherapy

If you don’t have the luxury of time or simply wish to get relief from allergy problems sooner, than later, rush immunotherapy offers Hill Country Allergy clients fast-tracked relief from many allergy problems. If you are interested in learning more about rush immunotherapy, please talk with Dr. Mery at your next visit.
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Types of Inhalation Devices

There are three basic types of devices that deliver inhaled medications. The most common is the
metered dose inhaler (MDI), which uses a chemical propellant to push the medication out of the
inhaler. Nebulizers deliver fine liquid mists of medication through a tube or a “mask” that fits over the
nose and mouth, using air or oxygen under pressure. Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) deliver medication
without using chemical propellants, but they require a strong and fast inhalation.

Regardless of the type of device you use, getting the medication to your lower airways is essential
for the medication to work. For all devices, education and training on how to correctly use them is
very important.

A device called a spacer may be prescribed if you’re having trouble getting the medicine to your
airways with an MDI. Spacers help you coordinate your inhaled breath with the release of the
medication from the MDI canister. With many MDIs, the spacer also makes the medication droplets
smaller, so they can more easily get into your lower airways where they are needed. There are also
MDIs where the medicine is released automatically when you breathe in from the inhaler, and there
are MDIs with built-in spacers.

Using a dry powder inhaler is very different than an MDI. A lever may need to be pressed, a button
squeezed, a cap removed or a dial twisted before inhalation. Dry powder inhalers need a stronger,
faster inhalation and are not used with spacers.

Five Convenient Locations To Serve You

As an added convenience, we now offer five clinic locations in Austin and the Texas Hill Country for all of your allergy needs. We treat everything from asthma to allergic skin conditions, to food allergy and sinusitis, to skin testing and immunotherapy (Allergy Shots), if you are in need of allergy help, we are here to help you breathe.
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Nebulizers

Nebulizers deliver asthma medications in a fine mist through mouthpieces or masks. You can
breathe normally and there is no special coordination required. Nebulizers are useful for young
children and some patients with more severe or acute asthma who are unable to use a MDI or a
DPI. Using a nebulizer can be more time-consuming, and may take 10-15 minutes to complete.

“My son has been going to Dr. Mery for over a year.  I always appreciate how attentive the nurses are to him when checking him out before he is released after his shot.  This office is very clean and organized as well.”

Stephanie H.

“My whole family goes to Dr. Mery.  He has been a major factor in our family’s health and well-being.  Dr. Mery is compassionate and understanding.  He is determined to help those who come to see him and truly cares for his patients.”

Susan D.

“Hill Country Allergy has been a very good experience for me these last few weeks. A great team has been providing me with a thorough job of evaluating my allergy needs and implementing a specific plan to reach my specific goal of setting my allergies under control. All staff is efficient, courteous, and very knowledgeable of my specific concerns. I am very pleased with my current service.”

Sandra B.

“The staff at Hill Country Allergy & Asthma is nothing short of amazing. They greet you with a smile and they actually remember my name; you are not just another face. They are patient and take the time to explain things even if you ask them the same questions every other time you are there. The technicians providing the shots are extremely careful and service is usually quick due to the check in system they utilize. They are well organized, with excellent customer service.”

Ditrell B.

“Whenever Julie is the one who gives me my shot, I almost look forward to getting the shot. Her sunny disposition brightens my day. I did say that it almost makes me want to get a shot!”

Bob B.

“I have been very pleased with the great care I have received from Dr. Mery, as well as his entire staff. They are all great!”

Cindy M.

“I look forward to getting my allergy shots every month. The office staff is so friendly and professional. It is a very nice and relaxed atmosphere too.”

Maria B.

“Dr. Mery saved me! I struggled for months with a skin reaction that three other doctors were unable to get under control.  It was clear from the onset that Dr. Mery is truly invested in his patients as he spent so much time with me trying to understand my situation and helped me tremendously with my condition.  Dr. Mery and his staff genuinely care for their patients!”

Krista H.

“My son saw Dr. Mery years ago for his bad allergies.  He was tested, started shots and has been on shots for a couple of years now.  We cannot begin to express our gratitude to HCAA for helping our family.  Our son is completely different kid – he can now play on sports teams and enjoy playing outside with his buddies!  THANK YOU DR. MERY!”

Sandy H.