Inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective medicine to treat persistent asthma. Inhaled corticosteroids are asthma controller medicines. Asthma symptoms happen less often when an inhaled corticosteroid is used every day. When used every day, these medicines make the breathing tubes less sensitive by blocking the inflammation that leads to asthma symptoms.
Using a controller medicine reduces the need for rescue medicines and lowers the chance of needing to go to the emergency room for an asthma attack.
Because the main problem in asthma is long-term inflammation in the lungs, corticosteroids are often used to treat asthma. Corticosteroids help to reduce and prevent the swelling and excess mucus in the airway caused by inflammation.
For most people with asthma, corticosteroids are the single most effective medicine because they break the inflammation cycle and reduce the likelihood of future asthma flare-ups.
Inhaled corticosteroids are not like anabolic steroids. Although they have a similar name, they are very different from the anabolic steroids that are abused by some athletes. Also, it is important to know that concerns about using oral corticosteroids do not apply because inhaled corticosteroids are not absorbed into the body to any large extent .
A small number of individuals experience some local side effects, such as a yeast infection (white spots) of the mouth, tongue or throat and occasional hoarseness. Side effects can be avoided by rinsing the mouth after each treatment and using a spacer with a metered dose inhaler .
Unfamiliarity with these newer inhalers has been the source of some recently reported errors. A patient discharged from the hospital on Spiriva HandiHaler was readmitted 3 days later after taking 3 Spiriva capsules by mouth each day. He was unaware that the capsule was to be placed in the device so its contents could be inhaled. A color-blind patient was unable to tell if the indicator window on a Tudorza Pressair inhaler was red or green. The window turns green when the inhaler is loaded with a dose and ready to use, and red when the dose has been completely inhaled. Errors have happened to healthcare providers, too. In the pharmacy, an order for Incruse Ellipta was mistaken as “Increase Ellipta,” and the pharmacist dispensed Breo Ellipta, the only “Ellipta” inhaler with which he was familiar.