Asthma Flashcards Preview

Pharmacology > Asthma > Flashcards

Flashcards in Asthma Deck (21):


Chronic inflammatory disorder of the airway; characteristic signs and symptoms: sense of breathlessness, tightening of the chest, wheezing, dyspnea, cough
-Cause: immune mediated airway inflammation



Symptoms of asthma result from a combination of inflammation and bronchoconstriction, so treatment must address both components


Two main pharmacologic classes

Anti-inflammatory agents: glucocorticoids (prednisone); bronchodilators: beta2 agonists (albuterol)


Inhalation drug therapy

Three obvious advantages: therapeutic effects are enhanced, systemic effects are minimized, relief of acute attacks is rapid
-Three types: metered-dose inhalers (MDIs), dry-powder inhalers (DPIs), nebulizers


Anti-inflammatory drugs

Foundation of asthma therapy, taken daily for long-term control, principal anti-inflammatory drugs are the glucocorticoids



Include budesonide and fluticasone, usually administered by inhalation, but IV and oral are also options; mechanism of action: suppress inflammation; adverse effects: minor when taken acutely, can be severe when used long-term (adrenal suppression, osteoporosis, hyperglycemia)


Leukotriene Modifiers

Suppress effects of leukotrienes, less effective than inhaled glucocorticoids; available agents: zileuton (Zyflo), zarfirlukast (Accolate), montelukast (Singulair)



Used for prophylaxis, not for quick relief; supresses inflammation, not a bronchodilator
-Route: inhalation (nebulizer, MDI); adverse effects: safest of all antiasthma medications, cough, bronchospasm



Provide symptomatic relief but do not alter the underlying disease process (inflammation); in almost all cases, patient taking a bronchodilator should be taking a glucocorticoid for long-term suppression of inflammation
-Principal bronchodilators are the beta2-adrengergic agonists


Beta2-Adrenergic Agonists

Include albuterol, salmeterol, terbutaline; most effective drugs for relief of acute bronchospasm and prevention of exercise-induced bronchospasm
-Use in asthma: both quick relief and long-term control


Beta2-Adrenergic Agonists: adverse effects

Inhaled preparations
-systemic effects: tachycardia, angina, and tremor
Oral preparations
-excessive dosage: angina pectoris, tachydysrhythmias; tremor


Beta2-Adrenergic Agonists: Mechanism of action

Activate beta2 receptors in smooth muscle of lung, promoting bronchodilation and thereby relieving bronchospasm; also suppress histamine release in lung and increase ciliary motility


Bronchodilators: methylxanthines

Theophylline: benefits derive primarily from bronchodilation, narrow therapeutic index, plasma level 10 to 20 mcg/mL, toxicity is related to theophylline levels
-other methylxanthines: aminophylline, dyphylline


Glucocorticoid/LABA Combinations

Available combinations: fluticason/salmeterol (Advair), budesonide/formoterol (Symbicort); indicated for long term maintenance in adults and children, not recommended for initial therapy


Tests of lung function

Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow (PEF)


Four classes of chronic asthma

Intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent, severe persistent


Treatment goals of chronic asthma

Reducing impairment, reducing risk


Long term drug therapy of Chronic Asthma

Agents for long term control (eg. inhaled glucocorticoids), agents for quick relief of ongoing attacks (eg. inhaled SABAs)


Management of Chronic Asthma

Important to reduce exposure to allergens and triggers; sources of allergens: house dust mites, pets, cockroaches, mold
-Factors that can exacerbate asthma: tobacco smoke, wood smoke, household sprays


Drugs for Acute Severe Exacerbations

Requires immediate attention, goal is to relieve airway obstruction and hypoxemia and normalize lung function as quickly as possible
Initial therapy:
1. Oxygen to relieve hypoxemia
2. Systemic glucocorticoid to reduce airway inflammation
3. Nebulized high-dose SABA to relieve airway obstruction
4. Nebulized ipratropium to further reduce airflow obstruction


Reducing Exposure to Allergens and Triggers

Measures to control or avoid dust mites and their feces include: encasing pt's pillows, mattress, box spring with covers impermeable to allergens, washing all bedding weekly in a hot water cycle, removing carpeting or rugs, keeping indoor humidity below 50%