Controllers and Relievers

are the Two Basic Types of Asthma Medication.


Controllers and relievers each treat a different part of your child’s asthma.

Reliever medications

like albuterol, are taken to relax and open up the airways when your child is experiencing symptoms. Quick relief medication typically starts working within a few minutes.

Controller medications

are usually taken every day, and they reduce the swelling in the airways and control symptoms to prevent asthma attacks.

Controller medications are the most effective medication for controlling symptoms and preventing asthma attacks. They may take up to 4 weeks to be fully effective.

Controller medications include inhaled steroids like

  • Fluticasone (Flovent)
  • Budesonide (Pulmicort)
  • Mometasone (Asmanex)

Combination Medications

Combination medications have both a long-term controller medication, an inhaled steroid, and a long-acting bronchodilator, formoterol or salmeterol. This medication helps control asthma, prevents symptoms and open airways.

  • Budesonide/Formoterol (Symbicort)
  • Fluticasone/Salmeterol (Advair)
  • Mometasone/Formoterol (Dulera)

At times, a doctor will recommend that the same med is used for both controller and reliever.

Other Medications: There are other medications that may be prescribed depending on your child’s asthma severity.


Asthma Facts:

A child cannot get addicted to asthma medicines.

In fact, the benefits of taking controller medications like an inhaled steroid outweigh the risks of side effects associated with these medications

Families can learn more about helping kids with asthma: 

Asthma Care Plans

How to Manage Asthma Medication