Last updated: Aug 01, 2009

If you have asthma, the airways in your lungs (bronchial tubes) become narrow and inflamed in response to allergens, respiratory infections, exercise, pollution, or other irritants. This causes symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.



Unlike other asthma medications that are fast-acting and can stop such symptoms, corticosteroids treat the underlying inflammation of asthma; they are used to manage the symptoms of the condition over the long term. Inhaled corticosteroids are delivered via a metered-dose or dry powder inhaler.

Inhaled corticosteroids cant stop symptoms once they get started. However, when taken daily as directed, they make it much less likely that symptoms will occur.

Some commonly used corticosteroids are budesonide (Pulmicort), fluticasone (Flovent), and triamcinolone (Azmacort). Some drugs are sold in combinations such as fluticasone and salmeterol (Advair) or budesonide and formoterol (Symbicort).