Antiasthma Drugs

Asthma is a respiratory condition characterized by recurrent attacks of dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and wheezing caused by spasmodic constriction of the bronchi. With asthma, the body responds with a massive inflammation. During the inflammatory process, large amounts of histamine are released from the mast cells of the respiratory tract, causing symptoms such as increased mucous production and edema of the airway and resulting in bronchospasm and inflammation. With asthma the airways become narrow, the muscles around the airway tighten, the inner lining of the bronchi swell, and extra mucus clogs the smaller airways. (See Fig. 37-1.)

Along with the bronchodilators, several types of drugs are effective in the treatment of asthma. These include corticosteroids, leukotriene formation inhibitors, leukotriene receptor agonists, and mast cell stabilizers.

Antiasthma drugs are used in various combinations to treat and manage asthma. Using several drugs may be more beneficial than using a single drug. A multidrug regimen allows smaller dosages of each drug, decreasing the number and severity of adverse reactions. Various combinations of these drugs are used depending on the patient's response.

asthma. Vanceril is contraindicated for the relief of symptoms that can be controlled by a bronchodilator and other nonsteroidal medications and in the treatment of nonasthmatic bronchitis. The corticosteroids are used cautiously in patients with compromised immune systems, glaucoma, kidney or liver disease, convulsive disorders, or diabetes, those taking systemic corticosteroids, and during pregnancy (Pregnancy Category C) and lactation. Ketoconazole may increase plasma levels of budesonide and fluticasone.

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