Asthma - Medication Ratings

Rate Yours Medications Many different types of drugs are approved for asthma. Some are inhaled directly into the lungs, while others are taken orally as a tablet or capsule. Some are rapid-acting "rescue medications" used to relieve an asthma attack, while others are long-acting and help to prevent asthma attacks.

Types of asthma medication include:


Bronchodilators are medications that directly relax (or "dilate") the muscles of the airway. Rapid-acting bronchodilators are "rescue medications" used to help relieve an asthma attack. Long-acting bronchodilators are taken on a regular basis to prevent asthma attacks, but are not used to treat an asthma attack.

Rapid-acting bronchodilators

Long-acting bronchodilators


Inhaled corticosteroids, or steroids for short, go directly into the lungs and help to decrease the inflammation of airways that makes asthma attacks more likely. Because steroids do not work quickly, they should not be used for treating an asthma attack. Rather, they are used on a daily basis to help prevent them.

Combination Asthma Medications

A few medications combine a bronchodilator medication with an inhaled steroid.

Miscellaneous Medications

A variety of miscellaneous medications are available for asthma treatment.

Leukotriene modifiers