Sometimes, moderate doses of inhaled steroids alone do not fully control asthma symptoms. You may find that, even though you’re taking inhaled steroids regularly, you still experience asthma symptoms, for example, at night or when you exercise.
Long-acting bronchodilators do not work on inflammation directly. Instead, they help the airways relax, allowing more air to pass through.
Long-acting inhaled beta2-agonists (LABAs), long-acting anticholinergic bronchodilators, long-acting muscarinic receptor antagonists (LAMAs), and theophylline are four different types of long-acting bronchodilators. They all work in slightly different ways but produce a similar effect — they relax (dilate) the airway for up to 24 hours. All of these long-acting bronchodilators must always be used together with inhaled corticosteroids. You may be given the inhaled corticosteroid and the bronchodilator in two separate inhalers. If this happens, make sure you use both.
There are several different kinds of long-acting bronchodilators. If you are given the inhaled corticosteroid and LABA in two separate inhalers, make sure you use them both. LABAs are not intended to be used alone for the treatment of asthma. Like any medication, a long-acting bronchodilator should be used only as your doctor advises.
Examples of long-acting bronchodilators are:
- Formoterol (sold as Oxeze® or Foradil®)
- Salmeterol (sold as Serevent®)
Possible side effects of long-acting bronchodilators include:
- Increased heart rate