An overview of asthma medication

Key Points

You need to know:

  • Which is your reliever
  • What preventer treatment you are on
  • The names of common emergency treatments


Relievers are blue inhalers that treat symptoms by relaxing the muscles around airways. 


Preventer medication comes as inhalers, tablets and injections.

Green inhalers

Key Points

  • The greenest inhaler is the one you use and use correctly

Good medicine practice

Key Points

  • Follow your asthma treatment plan
  • Read labels and check expiry dates
  • Medicines can be harmful so never share your treatment with others or use someone else’s treatment
  • Always report side effects
  • Get advice before taking or purchasing medications
  • Return unwanted and used medicines to the pharmacy


Select the correct answer for each question by clicking on the toggle button next to it.


Why not take another look at the information and try again?

#1. Which statement about asthma medication is correct?

The correct answer is c) – the colour of an inhaler helps you to identify it.  Asthma medication comes as inhalers, tablets and injections.  Only preventer inhalers should be used regularly and there are many different treatments for asthma emergencies.

#2. Which statement about reliever use is false?

The correct answer is c) – there are no risks associated with daily reliever use.  Frequent reliever use is usually a sign of poor asthma control.  It may also be that your problem is not asthma.  An urgent review is required.

#3. Which of the following about your blue reliever inhaler is true ?

The correct answer is d) – 10 puffs should be taken if your asthma symptoms are very bad.  Reliever inhalers can be taken before sport and work very quickly.  If you need your reliever three times a week or more, there is probably a problem with your asthma control.

#4. What should you do if you have a preventer?

The correct answer is c) – take it every day as prescribed.  You should always take your preventer regularly as prescribed, rinsing your mouth out and cleaning your teeth after you have used it.

#5. How do steroid only inhalers work?

The correct answer is a) – by reducing the inflammation in the airways.  Less inflammation means less bronchospasm but it takes time for the medication to start working and it also needs to be continued even when there are no symptoms to prevent problems from recurring.

#6. Which of the following statements is true?

The correct answer is b) – combined inhalers contain preventer and long acting reliever medicines.  Montelukast is taken once a day in the evening, an asthma plan covers both your routine and emergency treatment and your asthma medication, inhaler doses and other treatments, have been carefully chosen for you to ensure you get just the right amount of medication to help keep you well.

#7. Which of the following statements about oral steroids is true?

The correct answer is c) – it is always important to take them exactly as prescribed.  Oral steroids are prescribed for severe symptoms and in emergencies.  Prednisolone should be taken after food and it is important to finish the course.