Medication Information

Medication Information


Asthma medications are commonly categorized into quick-relief medicines and long-term controllers.  Keep a quick-relief medicine with you at all times.  Take controller medicines, as prescribed, even when you are not having symptoms.


Learn the correct technique for using an inhaled medicine.  Note that the technique is not necessarily the same for all inhalers so each patient has to master the inhalation technique(s) that apply.

Over-the-counter asthma inhalers are not recommended.


Oral asthma medications are available in the reliever and preventive categories.


Allergic rhinitis medicines include prescription corticosteroid nasal sprays that are used for long-term control rather than quick relief.  An antihistamine and an anticholinergic nasal spray also are available by prescription.  Mastering the correct technique for using nasal sprays keeps the medicine from running out of the nose or down the back of the throat.


Most non-drowsy oral antihistamines are available by prescription; some are available over-the-counter.  Some are combined with a decongestant for treating a stuffy nose while antihistamine alone treats nasal itching, sneezing, and runny nose.


Even OTC medicines have precautions and should not be taken if certain medical conditions exist; some should not be taken with certain prescriptions, other OTC medications, or with alcohol. Your pharmacist is a good resource when choosing over-the-counter medicines to treat nasal and eye symptoms.


Limit use of over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays so that rebound symptoms do not make your nasal condition worse.  Products such as Afrin give quick relief, but should not be used chronically.


Asthma Medications


Commonly used asthma medications.  All asthma medications are not listed.
Inhaled quick-actingbronchodilators

relaxes tight muscles around the airways
albuterol  Proventil HFA
Ventolin HFA
albuterol HFA
ProAir HFA
Always carry a quick-acting bronchodilator.  These medicines are for symptom relief.
levalbuterol      Xopenex® HFA
Inhaled Anticholinergicsmay also have a beta2-agonist (Combivent)  ipratropium + albuterol Combivent
ipratropium Atrovent
tiotropium Spiriva HandiHaler
Inhaled Antiallergycontrollers cromolyn
Inhaled long-acting bronchodilatorsevery 12 hours
formoterol Foradil Aerolizer
salmeterol Serevent Diskus never to be used for quick relief
Oral long-acting bronchodilators albuterol VoSpire ER every 12 hours
Inhaled Corticosteroidsanti-inflammatory controllers
used daily



beclomethasone Qvar Use, as prescribed, even if symptoms are not present.Rinse mouth after use.Do not swallow rinse water
budesonide Flexihaler
flunisolide Aerobid
fluticasone Flovent
mometasone Asmanex Twisthaler
triamcinolone Azmacort (with spacer)
Inhaled Dual Controlcorticosteroid +
long-acting bronchodilator
Symbicort Turbuhaler
Oral Leukotriene AntagonistAnti-leukotriene medicines modify one of the chemical mediators of asthma. These chemical mediators are called leukotrienes. montelukast Singulair
zafirlukast Accolate
zileuton Zyflo
Nebulized MedicinesThe nebulizer creates a mist which is inhaled.These meds fall into various categories as listed above. 



albuterol albuterol quick-acting bronchodilator
arformoterol Brovana Inh Solution long-acting bronchodilator
budesonide Pulmicort Respules Corticosteroid
Rinse mouth after use.
Do not swallow rinse water.
ipratropium Atrovent Inh Solution anticholinergic
DuoNeb Solution anticholinergic/bronchodilator
levalbuterol  Xopenex quick-acting bronchodilator


Allergic Rhinitis Medications


Commonly used allergic rhinitis medications.  All are not listed.
Corticosteroid Nasal Spraysanti-inflammatory controller medicines beclomethasone
generics Sniff gently.Do not blow nose for 15 minutes after using nasal spray.Alternate sides between each spray, if doing more than one spray in each nostril. 
budesonide Rhinocort AQUA
mometasone Nasonex
triamcinolone Nasacort AQ
Antihistamine Nasal Spray azelastine Astelin
Anticholinergic Nasal Spray ipratropium Atrovent
OTC Decongestant Nasal Spray Afrin is an example. This category gives quick relief. However, limit the use of OTC decongestant nasal sprays to several days in a row. Chronic use leads to a rebound effect that worsens symptoms.
OTC Saline Nasal Spray Saline nasal sprays can be used as needed.
Oral Antihistaminesnon-sedating or low-sedating category 


desloratadine Clarinex/Reditab
Clarinex Syrup
These are commonly prescribed oral antihistamines.  You also can get combination antihistamine and decongestant by prescription.
fexofenadine Tabs
Allegra Suspension
levocetirizine Xyzal Tabs
cetirizineloratadine ZyrtecClaritin These are now over-the-counter.