Corticosteroids are not bronchodilators and are generally considered controller medications. Corticosteroids work by suppressing the inflammatory reaction that causes swelling and narrowing of the bronchi. The powerful anti-inflammatory properties of corticosteroids make them unique among asthma medications. Oral and inhaled corticosteroids are used when your asthma cannot be controlled adequately by avoiding environmental irritants or using bronchodilators and other medications.
Corticosteroids are very effective in controlling asthma. Inhaled corticosteroids are often used in mild-to-moderate or severe asthma, while oral preparations are usually reserved for the more difficult-to-manage asthma symptoms or for acute exacerbations. Before beginning a course of corticosteroids, The Asthma Center specialists carefully consider the benefits versus the potential side effects. The most significant side effects tend to occur if you have taken high daily oral doses of this medication over a period of months to years. The Asthma Center specialists rarely recommend the use of corticosteroids in a way that can cause long term side effects. The benefits and risks of corticosteroids must be balanced against the risks associated with poorly controlled asthma.