Dr. Alan Greene on Asthma Treatments

Which treatment should I turn to for my son's asthma?


My 5-year-old son has asthma. He was taken off his inhaled steroid but now needs to use his albuterol inhaler at least twice a week. We're concerned because he holds himself back physically and rests very frequently, but he still ends up short of breath. Do we go back to the steroid, or just keep using the albuterol?


The goal for kids with asthma is to be physically active, not holding themselves back at all, and then to adjust the levels of medication to support that activity. If he holds himself back and still feels the need for frequent rest, it sounds like the level of medications may need to increase.

There is an intermediate level of increase. A preventive, nonsteroid inhaler such as Intal might do the trick for him. This is very gentle, with few side effects. Intal has been on the market for more than 10 years and is fine for 5-year-olds.

If his activity level is still lower or if he needs albuterol three to four times a week, then using the steroid inhaler would be safer than not using it.


The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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