What is Asthma?
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by recurring airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. Symptoms commonly include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and difficulty with air intake. Asthma is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. During an asthma flare up, the smooth muscles of the airway contract and narrow resulting in reduced airflow. Asthma can be life threatening or cause hospitalization if not treated properly. This is why it is important for severe asthma patients to carry prescribed rescue inhalers.
Medications for treatment of asthma
There are several prescription medications used for asthma treatment. Examples of asthma medications are listed below.
Although there is no cure for asthma, clinical trials have proven that approved asthma medications are effective and safe for patients. They are recommended by pharmacists and prescribed by doctors because of their known mechanism of action and physiological effect on the body. Asthma treatments are prescribed using evidence based medicine. Approved asthma treatments decrease symptoms of asthma as well as increase quality of life.
Homeopathic treatments for asthma are not safe and effective
Various homeopathic remedies are promoted for asthma. However, these types of asthma medications have not been evaluated by the FDA for safety or efficacy. Over the counter asthma products labeled as homeopathic are widely distributed through retail stores and via the internet. Many of these products are promoted as “natural”, “safe and effective”. They are recommended for acute asthma attacks and temporary relief of minor asthma symptoms. It is important to understand that these homeopathic products have not been evaluated by the FDA nor has their clinical effectiveness been proven. The majority of these products cannot even guarantee the ingredients on the label are actually present in their formulation. Relying on homeopathic remedies for moderate to severe asthma control is not recommended by the FDA and can actually be extremely dangerous. Remember, patients having an asthma attack may be hospitalized or lose their life if not treated properly.
Here is a list of some common homeopathic remedies for asthma relief:
What should consumers do?
Avoid using over the counter homeopathic asthma preparations because they are not proven to be safe and effective for treating asthma. Speak to a health care provider if you or your child has asthma. People with asthma can take an active role in managing their condition by making sure they have appropriate medications when they experience an asthma attack or worsening asthma symptoms. Speak with a healthcare professional about how to receive assistance from pharmaceutical companies if you cannot afford prescription asthma medications. Consulting a health care professional can be the difference between life and death for you or a loved one.