When you cannot avoid allergens, there are many medications that can help control allergy symptoms.
Decongestants and antihistamines are the most common allergy medications. They help to reduce a stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing and itching. Other medications work by preventing the release of the chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Nasal corticosteroids are effective in treating inflammation in your nose.
An allergist will work with you to determine which medicines are best for you and how often and how much of them you should take — while eliminating or minimizing any side effects.
There are two basic categories of asthma medications: relievers and controllers. Relievers are commonly called rescue inhalers or bronchodilators, which temporarily relieve symptoms by relaxing constricted bronchiole tubes. These are typically used only when needed. Controllers are anti-inflammatory medications, which prevent or heal the inflammation inside the bronchiole tubes. These are generally used every day as a preventive medication.
Quick-relief medicines can stop asthma symptoms, but they do not control airway inflammation that causes the symptoms. If you find that you need your quick-relief medicine to treat asthma symptoms more than twice a week, or two or more nights a month, then your asthma is not well controlled. Be sure to tell you provider.
Long-term control medicines are taken every day to prevent symptoms and attacks. These include:
These medicines are taken every day even if you do not have symptoms. The most effective long-term control medicines reduce airway inflammation and help improve asthma control.
Omalizumab, commonly known at Xolair, is an injectable prescription medicine used to treat moderate to severe asthma that is caused by allergies in adults and children who are 12 years old whose asthma symptoms are not controlled by asthma medicines called inhaled corticosteroids. It contains an antibody that helps decrease allergic responses in the body. This is usually given after other medicines have been tried without success. There are additional biologic prescription options available that can be discussed with your provider.
Your provider will work with you to find the right medicine, or combination of medicines, to manage your asthma, and will adjust the type and amount based on your symptoms and control. The goal of asthma treatment is to have you feel your best with the least amount of medicine.