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Asthma medicines come in two types—quick relief and long-term control.

  • Asthma inhalerQuick-relief medicines control the symptoms of an asthma attack. If you need to use your quick-relief medicines more and more, you should visit your healthcare provider to see if you need a different medicine.
  • Long-term control medicines are taken every day to help you have fewer and milder attacks. They don’t help you if you’re having an asthma attack.

Not everyone with asthma takes the same medicine. Some medicines are inhaled and some are taken as a pill. If you are ever confused about your prescription, make sure to ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.


  • Take your medicine as prescribed to help you avoid an attack.
  • Asthma medicines can have side effects, but most side effects are mild and brief. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about the side effects of your medicines.
  • Make an Asthma Action Plan Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol so that you know what to do in response to your own symptoms. Decide who should have a copy of your plan and where they should keep it. Asthma action plans are a key part of successful asthma management.
  • Take your long-term control medicine even when you don’t have symptoms.

For more information, visit the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program’s Asthma Care Quick Reference Guide: Diagnosing and Managing Asthma Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol.

Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol Adobe Acrobat Reader format. You can download a free reader from Adobe.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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