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Conventional steroids treatment of asthma

Treatment of asthma has two aspects: management of acute attacks and long-term control or prevention. Conventional treatments are sometimes the best choices for acute attacks, where immediate relief can be a life-and-death matter.

For allergic asthma, one of the safest and best drugs is inhaled cromolyn sodium. Most bronchodilating drugs are stimulants that increase sympathetic tone and anxiety. Theophylline, derived from tea, has a long history of use, but may not be as safe as doctors used to think. It can cause dramatic personality changes. Other drugs of this class can be inhaled to relieve and prevent attacks. These inhalers work, but they are often addictive, since the bronchial tubes are likely to become constricted again when one dose wears off (the same pattern occurs when these drugs are sprayed into the nose to relieve nasal congestion). Newer drugs – the leukotriene inhibitors are useful for some patients and less toxic.

Other inhalers contain steroids. If the steroids are not absorbed into the system, they can be safe and effective. Different products vary greatly in efficacy and absorbability. At this writing the best are Flovent (fluticasone) and Pulmocort (budesonide), both safer than older versions. Steroid inhalers should always be used immediately following inhalation of a bronchodilator.

In my view, conventional protocols for long-term control are more problematic. Oral steroids (prednisone is the commonest) are very dangerous for asthmatics, because it is too easy to become addicted to them, and toxicity from long-term steroid use is devastating. Try to avoid ever going on oral steroids. If you do have to take them, get off as soon as possible. In general, the less medication you can take, the better. Allopathic drugs, being suppressive in nature, tend to perpetuate asthma and may reduce the chance that it will disappear on its own