Bronchodilators are either short-acting or long-acting. Short-acting medications provide quick or "rescue" relief from acute bronchoconstriction. Long-acting bronchodilators help to control and prevent symptoms. The three types of prescription bronchodilating drugs are β2-agonists (short- and long-acting), anticholinergics (short-acting), and theophylline (long-acting).
Effective for 12 hours, albuterol is particularly helpful for nighttime asthma symptoms. Because this medication requires high dosing, there tend to be increased side-effects. Therefore it is not commonly prescribed. Side-effects include increased heart rate; hyperactivity; feeling nervous, shaky, or over-excited; and, very rarely, upset stomach or difficulty sleeping.
Available in oral and injectable form, theophylline is a long-acting bronchodilator that prevents asthma episodes. It belongs to the chemical class methyl xanthines (along with caffeine). It is prescribed in severe cases of asthma or those that are difficult to control. It must be taken 1-4 times daily, and doses cannot be missed. Blood tests are required to monitor therapy and to indicate when dosage adjustment is necessary. Side-effects can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach or headache, rapid or irregular heart beat, muscle cramps, nervous or jittery feelings, and hyperactivity. These symptoms may signal the need for an adjustment in medication. It may promote acid reflux, also known as GERD, by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter muscle. Some medications, such as seizure and ulcer medications and antibiotics containing erythromycin, can interfere with the way theopylline works. Coffee, tea, colas, cigarette-smoking, and viral illnesses can all affect the action of theophylline and change its effectiveness. A physician should monitor dosage levels to meet each patient's profile and needs. [pko[
Following the standard convention of medicine, the capitalized brand name is followed by the lowercased generic name in parentheses.
Bronchodilator therapy in mechanically ventilated patients: patient selection and clinical outcomes.(Editorial)(Clinical report)
Feb 01, 2007; Bronchodilators are among the most commonly employed drugs in the intensive care unit. Inhaled Bronchodilator...
Incorporating tiotropium into a respiratory therapist-directed bronchodilator protocol for managing in-patients with COPD exacerbations decreases bronchodilator costs.(Clinical report)
Dec 01, 2008; BACKGROUND: Tiotropium is used in maintenance treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but there are no...