Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating (see Asthma Triggers). When the airways react, they narrow and less air flows to your lungs. This is called bronchospasm. It causes asthma symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, tightness in the chest, and trouble breathing.
While there is no asthma cure, asthma can be controlled. There are many different asthma treatments, including fast-acting “rescue medications” for treating an asthma attack and longer-acting “controller medications” used to prevent asthma attacks. Flovent is a controller medication, used to help prevent asthma attacks (but not to treat an attack). Everyone who takes Flovent should also have a rescue medication (such as an albuterol inhaler) available for emergencies.
Flovent is part of a class of drugs called inhaled corticosteroids, or steroids for short. Inflammation is an important component of asthma, and steroids help to decrease inflammation. Because Flovent is inhaled directly into the lungs, the rest of the body is exposed to lower steroid levels than is the case when taking steroids by mouth. This helps reduce or eliminate many of the side effects associated with long-term steroid use.