Asthma Medications - Toddlers

Does your toddler need asthma medication? How do you administer it?

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What kinds of asthma medications are used in children and toddlers?

Short-acting beta-agonists (albuterol and levalbuterol) are used as rescue medications in children and toddlers. These may be used via an inhaler with a spacer and face mask in younger children, and via inhaler in older children. These medications are also available in nebulized form, which may be easier to use in infants and toddlers.

Inhaled corticosteroids are the mainstay for daily controller medications in children and toddlers. The choice of which inhaled corticosteroid often comes down to which medication delivery device is preferred by caretakers. Young children can use metered dose inhalers with a spacer and face mask, as long as caregivers are trained and feel comfortable with the proper technique. Budesonide is available via nebulizer, and this may be easier for infants and younger toddlers. Some children may also feel comfortable with a dry powder inhaler. If used properly, all medication delivery devices are effective, so choice is usually individualized based on caregiver and child preference. Combination inhalers are also used in children, and health care professionals caring for children with asthma may choose these for children with moderate-to-severe asthma.

The leukotriene modifier medications are also used in children. Montelukast is available in granules that can be sprinkled on food, and is approved for infants as young as 6 months. It is also available in chewable form. Zafirlukast is available for children ages 5 and up. Zileuton is recommended for children ages 12 and up.

Omalizumab may be used in children ages 12 and up with poorly-controlled asthma and evidence of allergic sensitization.

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