Bronchodilators (also known as beta2-agonists* ) are non-steroid medications that help open up airways by relaxing small muscles which are tight due to asthma. Some bronchodilators are rapid-acting, and some are long-acting.
Rapid-acting bronchodilators are used as “rescue” or quick–relief medications to immediately relieve asthma symptoms. Quick relief bronchodilators are also sometimes prescribed to be taken before exercise to control exercise-induced broncho constriction. This type of medication is meant to be used to treat sudden asthma symptoms. If it is necessary to use a rescue medication on a daily basis, notify your doctor as it could mean that your asthma condition is not under control.
Long-acting bronchodilators are long-term medications which are used to manage and control asthma symptoms. They are typically prescribed to be taken twice daily—even when symptoms are not present.