Asthma Management Handbook
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Table. Classification of asthma medicines

Use

Role

Pharmacological class

Agent

Short term use

 

Relievers

Short-acting beta2 agonist relievers

Salbutamol

Terbutaline sulfate

Inhaled corticosteroid/rapid-onset long-acting beta2 agonist combinations †

Budesonide/formoterol fumarate dihydrate

Other medicines for short-term use (symptomatic and acute asthma treatment)

Systemic corticosteroids

Prednisolone or prednisone

Methylprednisolone sodium succinate

Hydrocortisone

Short-acting muscarinic antagonists * (in acute asthma, or as an alternative to a short-acting beta2 agonist)

Ipratropium bromide

Theophyllines (in acute asthma)

Aminophylline

Magnesium sulfate (in acute asthma)

Magnesium sulfate

Long term use

 

Preventers

Inhaled corticosteroids (glucocorticosteroids)

Beclometasone dipropionate

Budesonide

Ciclesonide

Fluticasone propionate

Fluticasone furoate

Inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting beta2 agonist combinations

Budesonide/formoterol fumarate dihydrate

Fluticasone furoate/vilanterol trifenatate ‡

Fluticasone propionate/formoterol fumarate dihydrate

Fluticasone propionate/salmeterol xinafoate

Leukotriene receptor antagonists

Montelukast sodium

Cromones (mast cell stabilisers)

Sodium cromoglycate

Nedocromil sodium

Other add-on medicines for long-term use

Anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE)

Omalizumab

Anti-interleukin-5 (IL-5)

Mepolizumab

Long-acting muscarinic antagonist *§

Tiotropium bromide

Long-acting beta2 agonists #

Formoterol fumarate dihydrate

Salmeterol xinafoate

Theophyllines

Theophylline

* Muscarinic antagonists are also called anticholinergic bronchodilators.

§ For patients with asthma, long-acting muscarinic antagonists should be prescribed only in addition to an inhaled corticosteroid.

† The budesonide/formoterol fumarate dihydrate combination is used as reliever only for adolescents and adults for whom the maintenance-and-reliever regimen has been prescribed.

‡ Fluticasone furoate/vilanterol should be taken as one inhalation once daily. Warn patients not to take more inhalations or more frequent doses.

# For patients with asthma, long-acting beta2 agonists should be prescribed only in combination with an inhaled corticosteroid.

Notes

Before prescribing any medicine, check the Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved product information.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme criteria for some asthma medicines differ between age groups and indications.

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