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Using Preventers and Bronchodilators for Asthma
Dr Pradyut Waghray
Since asthma is an inflammatory disorder, we need to administer anti inflammatory drugs in the form of inhaled steroids to treat it. These are called ‘preventers’.

Some time back, the treatment method prescribed was the use of bronchodilators or quick-relief providing drugs. Over the years, studies have revealed that unless chronic asthmatics are put on preventers, preferably in the form of inhaled steroids, they cannot be effectively treated for the disorder.

The current mode of treatment includes:
  1. Regular use of preventers in the form of inhaled steroids, used twice a day, irrespective of whether you have an asthma attack or not.
  2. Use of bronchodilators as and when you have asthma attack.
More than 90 percent of patients respond to the above mode of treatment. For some, certain additional drugs may be required. One such drug is oral theophylline, which may be administered at night, to pre-empt the nocturnal occurrence of asthma. Very few patients need oral steroids, and even if they do, it is usually administered for a few days.
For chronic asthma, a new drug called Montelukast or Montair, which is a preventer, is now being used along with inhaled steroids.
Dr Pradyut Waghray, Consultant Chest Physician, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Specialist, Senior Consultant Pulmonologist, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad.

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