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What are asthma medication guidelines?
The asthma medication guidelines classify asthma into different categories based on asthma symptoms during the day, asthma symptoms during the nighttime, use of rescue medications, impact of asthma on daily life, use of oral steroids, and breathing tests done in medical offices (spirometry). The asthma classifications include mild intermittent asthma, mild persistent asthma, moderate persistent asthma, and severe persistent asthma.
Patients classified as having mild intermittent asthma generally only require short-acting rescue medications. Mild persistent asthma is treated with inhaled corticosteroids as recommended first-line therapy, with a leukotriene modifier, theophylline, or cromolyn as alternative therapies to the inhaled corticosteroids.
Patients with moderate persistent asthma are usually treated with an inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting beta-agonist, a higher dose of inhaled corticosteroid, or an inhaled steroid plus a leukotriene modifier or possibly theophylline.
Patients with severe persistent asthma are treated with the higher doses of inhaled corticosteroids plus the long-acting beta-agonists, leukotriene modifiers, possibly theophylline, possibly tiotropium, and possibly anti-IgE therapy. Patients with difficult-to-control asthma often end up on multiple types of medications, and some may require oral steroids to maintain control.