With so many different parts to an asthma treatment plan, it is sometimes difficult for some people to stay focused and take their medications exactly as prescribed or intended. However, there are many reasons to stay on track. People who take their asthma medications exactly as prescribed will get the most benefit from their treatments. Also, it is much easier to make adjustments to the treatment plan if the amount of medication taken and the resulting outcomes are clear (to both the person and his or her health care team). Maximizing the benefit of existing medications and making appropriate changes when needed will ultimately help a person to reduce the number of asthma attacks and improve asthma control.
There are two main categories of asthma medications: controllers and relievers. Controllers are medications used to keep asthma under control over time and to reduce the risk of asthma attacks. Relievers are medications used to help alleviate asthma symptoms.
While most inhalers only contain one type of medication (controller or reliever), combination treatments are also available.
Here are some general tips to make sticking to your treatment plan a snap:
- Get into a routine and take your medications at the same time each day.
- Coordinate your medications with other daily habits (e.g., after brushing your teeth, or at dinner).
- Plant reminders (e.g., set an alarm, leave a note in an obvious place).
- Keep a medication calendar near your medications.
- Plan ahead for refills so that you won't run out.
- Clarify any changes with your health care team and write them down on your asthma action plan.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are ways to simplify your medication routine. For example, there may be a medication you can take less often, or you might be able to use a combination medication instead of multiple inhalers. Talk to your doctor about which medication routine is right for you.
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