When you need to use a controller medicine :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

When you need to use a Controller Medicine

A common misconception about controller medicine for asthma is that it should only be taken when having trouble breathing. Controller medicine is prescribed for individuals whose asthma is persistent or not well controlled. In order for controller medicine to work effectively, it must be used every day, or sometimes twice a day, even if you feel fine. Rescue medicine, such as Albuterol, should be used whenever symptoms occur, or if you know you're going to have symptoms, like before exercise. This type of medicine helps open your airways so you can breathe easier.

Video Transcript

I only need to use my controller medicine when I have trouble breathing.

What do you mean?

If your doctor prescribes a controller medicine for your asthma, that means your asthma is persistent or not well controlled.

In order for your controller medicine to work effectively that means you need to use it every day, or sometimes twice a day, even if you feel fine.

There are two types of medicine that treat asthma:

Rescue medicine, such as albuterol, should be used whenever symptoms occur, or sometimes if you know you’re going to have symptoms, like before exercise.

This type of medicine helps open your airways so you can breathe easier.

You can feel this working inside your body, but it only lasts for a few hours.

Even though it makes you feel better, it won’t make your asthma any better long term.

Controller medicine works by treating the inflammation and swelling inside the lungs, which is a big deal.

You don’t really feel it working, but if you use it every day, then your asthma should be under much better control.

This means that over time you won't have to use your rescue medicine quite as much.

Oh, thanks!

But still, it’s not like anyone can die from asthma, can they?

Actually, for some children and teenagers with asthma, they can become very sick, and this often happens very quickly.

Even though we have a lot of great medicines that help treat asthma, children and teenagers still die from asthma everyday in the United States.

One of the best ways to make sure that your child remains healthy is to go to all of their appointments with their physician and follow your asthma treatment plan also known as an asthma action plan.

Then, when you’re at home, make sure they receive their controller medicine every day, even if they feel fine.

Not only is this going to make them feel better in the long term, but hopefully it will also keep them from getting sick.

Wow – that’s helpful.

Thanks! I’ll be sure to use my controller medicine all the time!

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