Over-the-Counter Asthma Treatments

Updated July 19, 2017

If you experience asthma infrequently or you have mild symptoms, you have an option as to whether you wish to control your asthma with over the counter medication or prescription medication. Asthma is a disease that you must treat. It is a condition that affects 22 millions across the United States, including 6 million children.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a medical condition in which there is a temporary narrowing of the airway. It causes periods of wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. Asthma can be triggered by many things, including exercise, allergies, food additives, dust mites, animal fur, mould or from inflammation of the airway. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, difficulty breathing, and wheezing as well as tightness in the chest. Asthma Medications Before the 1980s, the only drugs available for asthma was ephedrine and epinephrine based drugs. It was during this decade that medications such as albuterol, corticosteroids and many other drugs only available by prescription were also made available to asthma sufferers.

Over the Counter Treatments

Over the counter medications are useful if your asthma is mild and infrequent. If you experience asthma attacks more than once a week or if your attacks are severe, you should see your doctor for a prescription medication to ensure that your asthma is under control. There are a variety of prescription medications ranging from inhalers to oral medications that you can take to control this disease. Only your doctor can help decide which medication is best for you. Over the counter medications for asthma include epinephrine and/or ephedrine. Other types of medication that may help with asthma depend upon the triggers. These medications include antihistamines, expectorants and decongestants. Over the counter asthma medications are available in tablet, caplet, syrup and inhaler forms. Many are available in combination of two or more of the medication types for maximum relief. Bronkaid is made by Bayer; it is for bronchial congestion and bronchial asthma, and it contains ephedrine and guaifenesin. The ephedrine acts as a bronchodilator ,and the guaifenesin is an expectorant. Another over the counter asthma treatment is Primatene, which is made as a tablet, syrup and inhaler version. The tablet and syrup version have the same two medications--guaifenesin and ephedrine while the inhaler has epinephrine in it. The Primatine Mist inhaler offers relief in as little as 15 seconds, so it is the fastest to react out of the oral or inhaled versions. If your asthma is caused from allergies you can take an antihistamine to prevent an asthma attack. An example of an antihistamine is diphenhydramine. A brand name example of this is benadryl.

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About the Author

Michele A. Clarke has been a writer for over 30 years. She enjoys writing articles on health care. She has a bachelors degree from the University of Albany in Biology and Sociology. She has worked for many years as a grant writer and health care consultant. Michele has written a wide variety of e-books and is working on her first novel.