Bronchodilators open up the air passages making breathing easier. Narrowing of the air passages causes wheezing, commonly seen in people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Inhaled bronchodilator medications can more quickly open narrowed air passages since they are inhaled directly into the lungs.
These medications come in two forms:
- Short-acting inhaled bronchodilators:
- Used for the treatment of acute asthma attacks
- Long-acting inhaled bronchodilators:
- Used to prevent asthma attacks
Some of these medications come in liquid form: a nebulizer pumps compressed air through the liquid, in order to create a mist of medication that can be inhaled. Most of these medications come as a metered dose inhaler.
Short-acting inhaled bronchodilators include:
- Albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil, Volmax)
- Bitolterol (Tornalate)
- Isoproterenol (Isuprel)
- Levalbuterol (Xopenex)
- Metaproterenol (Alupent, Metaprel)
- Pirbuterol (Maxair)
- Terbutaline (Brethaire, Brethine, Bricanyl)
- Ipratropium (Atrovent)
Long-acting inhaled bronchodilators include:
Combination of long-acting inhaled bronchodilators + corticosteroid include:
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