Asthma and Allergy Network

Common types of respiratory medications used to treat breathing problems

What Do I Need To Know To Use Them?

Why Is It Important For Me To Use Them?

By William F. Galvin, Patrick J. Dunne, Thomas J. Kallstrom, Timothy Myers.

Respiratory medications are used to help you breathe better when treating a variety of breathing problems, such as shortness of breath and shortness of breath. These include inhaling medications with nebulizers in the form of a mist. Doctors may recommend different medications to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, asthma and other conditions. These include the following:

Here are five signs to help you identify whether your asthma is getting worse:

  1. Antimicrobials. These are used to treat respiratory infections. These drugs include tobramycin (TOBI), ribavirin (Virazole), pentamidine (Nebupent) etc. These drugs are used to treat respiratory infections.
  2. Corticosteroids. These are actually a type of steroid that are designed to reduce airway swelling. One of the best known examples of corticosteroid use is Budesonide (Pulmicort Respules).
  3. Bronchodilator drugs. These are used to open and relax the airways. Metaproterenol (Alupent) and ipratropium (Atrovent) are two common examples of these drugs.
  4. Short-acting beta agonists. These are actually a type of bronchodilators that can both open and relax narrowed airways. Formoterol (Perforomist) and arformoterol (Brovana) are some examples of this group of drugs.
  5. Long-acting beta agonists. These types of bronchodilators can be used with inhaled corticosteroids. Formoterol (Perforomist) and arformoterol (Brovana) are two examples of these medicines. Doctors may prescribe them along with inhaled corticosteroids as a combination in their prescription for patients with respiratory distress.
  6. Racemic Adrenaline. These are used to treat croup, severe asthma attacks, and other urgent respiratory conditions.
  7. Mucolytics. These drugs are used to liquefy, loosen, and clear mucus from the lungs. Dornase alfa (Pulmozyme) and acetylcysteine (Mucomyst) are two major examples of these medicines.
  8. Combination medications. Albuterol (DuoNeb) / ipratropium are combination medications that are usually very useful for relieving respiratory symptoms. It helps reduce airway swelling.
  9. Intravenous antibiotics. They can be used to treat acute infections such as bacterial pneumonia or bacterial bronchitis. They are used intravenously to treat patients with respiratory problems.
  10. Supplemental Oxygen. It can be used to increase oxygen levels in the blood. Doctors may recommend some measures to treat thick mucus, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and inflammation in the airways. Some methods can be taught by a nurse or respiratory therapist to show you how to do them at home.

Talk to your doctor if you have trouble breathing. Mastery of both the art and science of aerosol delivery can have a profound impact on appropriately matching medications and delivery devices to optimize patients clinical outcomes. Read more about types of respiratory agents at this edition of Respiratory Drugs List.

This this edition contain information about:

William F. Galvin is an Assistant Professor in the Frances M. Maguire School Nursing and Health Professions, Program Director for the Respiratory Care Program and a member of the teaching and administrative faculty for the TIPS (Teacher Improvement Project System) Program at Gwynedd Mercy University.