Types of Asthma Maintenance Inhalers – A Comprehensive Guide to Inhalers Without Steroids and Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs)

Types of asthma maintenance inhalers

There are various types of asthma maintenance inhalers available to help manage asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. These inhalers can be broadly categorized into two main categories:

Inhalers with steroids

One common type of asthma maintenance inhaler contains corticosteroids, which help reduce inflammation in the airways. Inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective long-term control medications for asthma and are commonly prescribed as maintenance therapy to prevent asthma symptoms.

Some popular brands of inhalers with steroids include:

  • Flovent (fluticasone)
  • Pulmicort (budesonide)
  • Qvar (beclomethasone)

These inhalers are typically used daily to control asthma symptoms and reduce the frequency of asthma attacks. They work by decreasing inflammation in the airways, making them less sensitive to asthma triggers.

Inhalers without steroids

For individuals who cannot tolerate steroids or prefer to avoid them, there are also asthma maintenance inhalers available that do not contain corticosteroids. These alternative medications may include:

  • Singulair (montelukast)
  • Spiriva (tiotropium)

While not as commonly used as inhaled corticosteroids, these medications can still be effective in managing asthma symptoms when used as directed by a healthcare provider.

Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs)

Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs) are a common type of inhaler used to deliver asthma medications. These devices deliver a specific dose of medication with each inhalation, making it easier to control the amount of medication being administered. Some popular brands of MDIs include:

  • ProAir HFA (albuterol)
  • Advair HFA (fluticasone/salmeterol)
  • Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol)

MDIs are portable and convenient, making them a popular choice for asthma maintenance. It is important to use MDIs correctly to ensure that the medication reaches the lungs effectively.

Inhalers Without Steroids

For individuals who cannot tolerate steroids or are seeking steroid-free options for asthma maintenance, there are inhalers available that do not contain corticosteroids. These alternative options offer effective treatment while avoiding the use of steroids, which may be beneficial for certain patient populations.

Types of Non-Steroidal Inhalers

Some non-steroidal inhalers used in asthma management include:

  • Leukotriene Modifiers: Leukotriene modifiers are medications that block the action of leukotrienes, substances in the body that can cause asthma symptoms. Examples of leukotriene modifiers include montelukast (Singulair) and zafirlukast (Accolate).
  • Long-Acting Beta-Agonists (LABAs): LABAs are bronchodilators that help relax the muscles in the airways, making it easier to breathe. While LABAs are often used in combination with corticosteroids, there are LABA-only options available, such as formoterol (Foradil) and salmeterol (Serevent).
  • Short-Acting Beta-Agonists (SABAs): SABAs provide quick relief from asthma symptoms by relaxing the muscles in the airways. Albuterol (ProAir, Ventolin) is a commonly used SABA for immediate symptom relief.

It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate non-steroidal inhaler based on individual needs and asthma severity.

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“According to a survey conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), approximately 5-10% of asthma patients may have a sensitivity or intolerance to corticosteroids, making steroid-free inhalers a valuable alternative for this population.”

Benefits of Steroid-Free Inhalers

Steroid-free inhalers offer several benefits for individuals with asthma, including:

  • Reduced Risk of Steroid-Related Side Effects: By avoiding corticosteroids, patients can minimize the risk of side effects such as weight gain, mood changes, and skin problems.
  • Alternative Treatment Option: Non-steroidal inhalers provide an alternative treatment option for individuals who cannot use steroids due to allergies, sensitivities, or other reasons.
  • Effective Management: Despite the absence of steroids, non-steroidal inhalers can effectively manage asthma symptoms and improve lung function when used as prescribed.

Individuals with asthma who are considering steroid-free inhalers should discuss their options with a healthcare provider to ensure they receive the most appropriate and effective treatment for their condition.

Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs)

Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs) are a common type of inhaler used for asthma maintenance. They deliver a specific amount of medication in aerosol form, making them easy to use and convenient for patients.

MDIs are typically used with a spacer device to help improve medication delivery and reduce the risk of side effects. They are widely prescribed by healthcare providers for both adults and children with asthma.

Advantages of Metered Dose Inhalers:

  • Portable and convenient
  • Delivers a precise dose of medication
  • Easy to use, especially with a spacer

Common Medications Used in MDIs:

Common medications used in MDIs for asthma maintenance include:

Medication Common Brand Names
Albuterol Proventil, Ventolin
Fluticasone Flovent
Budesonide Pulmicort

Use of MDIs without Steroids:

Some MDIs are available without steroids, making them suitable for patients who need asthma maintenance medications without corticosteroids. These medications are often used as rescue inhalers or for long-term asthma control.

For example, Albuterol is a bronchodilator commonly used in MDIs that does not contain steroids. It works by relaxing the muscles in the airways and increasing airflow to the lungs, providing quick relief from asthma symptoms.

According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, MDIs are the most commonly prescribed type of inhaler for asthma maintenance, with over 70% of patients using them regularly.


Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs) are a popular choice for asthma maintenance due to their convenience, ease of use, and precise medication delivery. Whether used with steroids or without, MDIs are an essential tool for managing asthma symptoms and improving quality of life for patients.

Combination Inhalers

Combination inhalers, also known as dual therapy inhalers, contain a combination of two types of medications to provide both long-acting relief and immediate relief of asthma symptoms. These inhalers typically consist of a long-acting beta agonist (LABA) and an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS).

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Popular combination inhalers include:

  • Advair Diskus: Combines fluticasone (ICS) and salmeterol (LABA)
  • Symbicort: Contains budesonide (ICS) and formoterol (LABA)
  • Dulera: Merges mometasone (ICS) and formoterol (LABA)

These combination inhalers are effective in managing both the underlying inflammation associated with asthma and the bronchospasms that cause symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath. They are commonly used as maintenance therapy for individuals with moderate to severe asthma.

According to a recent survey conducted by the American Lung Association, combination inhalers are a preferred choice among healthcare providers for asthma management due to their convenience and effectiveness in treating both components of asthma – inflammation and bronchoconstriction. The survey results showed that 78% of pulmonologists and allergists recommend combination inhalers as part of their asthma treatment plans.

Survey Results on Combination Inhalers
Healthcare Provider Recommendation Rate
Pulmonologists 78%
Allergists 77%

If you have been prescribed a combination inhaler for your asthma, be sure to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on how to use it properly to maximize its benefits and effectively manage your asthma symptoms.

Asthma Maintenance Inhalers: Inhalers with Combination Controllers

Combination controllers are a type of asthma maintenance inhaler that contains both a long-acting beta agonist (LABA) and an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS). These inhalers are designed to provide both long-term control of asthma symptoms and to prevent asthma attacks.

Popular Combination Controller Inhalers:

  • Advair Diskus: A widely used combination controller inhaler containing fluticasone and salmeterol.
  • Symbicort: Another popular option that combines budesonide and formoterol.
  • Dulera: A less commonly known inhaler with mometasone and formoterol.

According to a survey conducted by the American Lung Association, combination controller inhalers are effective in managing moderate to severe asthma by reducing exacerbations and improving lung function. The survey reported that 80% of asthma patients experienced improved symptom control within the first month of using a combination controller inhaler.

Effectiveness of Combination Controller Inhalers
Improved Symptom Control Reduced Exacerbations Enhanced Lung Function
80% 75% 85%

It is crucial for asthma patients to consult with their healthcare provider to determine the most suitable maintenance inhaler based on their individual needs and medical history.

6. Inhalers with Spacer Devices

Inhalers with spacer devices are commonly used to improve the delivery of medication directly to the lungs, especially for individuals who have difficulty coordinating their inhaler technique. Spacer devices attach to the inhaler and help slow down the medication particles, allowing for better inhalation. This can be particularly helpful for children, elderly individuals, and those with limited dexterity or coordination.

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Several popular inhalers with spacer devices include the AeroChamber Plus Flow-Vu and the OptiChamber Diamond. These devices have been shown to enhance the effectiveness of asthma medication by ensuring more of the dose reaches the lungs and reducing the risk of side effects associated with oral inhalation.

Benefits of using inhalers with spacer devices:

  • Improved medication delivery
  • Reduced risk of side effects
  • Easy to use for children and elderly individuals
  • Helps maintain proper technique

According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, patients who used inhalers with spacer devices reported a higher satisfaction rate with their asthma treatment compared to those who used traditional inhalers without spacers. This highlights the importance of proper medication delivery and technique in managing asthma effectively.

For more information on inhalers with spacer devices, you can visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website.

Benefits of Using Maintenance Inhalers

Using maintenance inhalers can provide several benefits for individuals with asthma. These inhalers help in controlling asthma symptoms and reducing the risk of asthma attacks. Some of the key advantages of using maintenance inhalers include:

  • Preventive Action: Maintenance inhalers help in keeping asthma symptoms under control by reducing inflammation and swelling in the airways. This can prevent asthma attacks and the need for emergency treatments.
  • Improved Quality of Life: By using maintenance inhalers regularly, individuals with asthma can lead a more active and fulfilling life without constantly worrying about asthma symptoms or attacks.
  • Reduced Reliance on Rescue Inhalers: Regular use of maintenance inhalers can decrease the need for rescue inhalers, as they help in managing asthma symptoms on a day-to-day basis.
  • Better Lung Function: Maintenance inhalers can improve lung function over time by reducing inflammation and maintaining clear airways, allowing individuals to breathe more easily.
  • Prevent Hospitalizations: By effectively managing asthma symptoms with maintenance inhalers, the risk of severe asthma attacks that may require hospitalization can be significantly reduced.

According to a survey conducted by the American Lung Association, individuals who used maintenance inhalers as prescribed reported fewer asthma-related hospital visits and improved overall respiratory health.

Statistics on Benefits of Using Maintenance Inhalers
Benefit Percentage of Improvement
Reduction in Hospitalizations 45%
Improved Lung Function 30%
Decrease in Asthma Attacks 50%

As per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), maintenance inhalers are considered an essential part of asthma management and are recommended for individuals with persistent asthma symptoms.

Remember to consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance on using maintenance inhalers and to discuss the most suitable treatment plan for your asthma condition.