Primatene MistEffective OTC Medications to Alleviate Asthma Symptoms

Effective OTC Medications to Alleviate Asthma Symptoms


Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder characterized by recurring symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and occasional attacks of severe difficulty in breathing. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed with regular medical therapy, often involving daily inhaled steroids and occasional ‘rescue’ inhaler use when symptoms worsen.

While a prescription is typically required for most asthma medications, there are over-the-counter (OTC) options available that can help to alleviate some symptoms. It is important to note that these OTC medications should not be used as a replacement for prescribed therapy without discussing with a healthcare professional. The following are some effective OTC medications that may help to manage asthma symptoms:


Bronchodilators relax the muscles around the airways. The airways are then widened, allowing air to flow through more easily. Epinephrine is a commonly used OTC bronchodilator for temporary relief of mild asthma symptoms.

Anti-inflammatory drugs

While not strictly used for asthma, OTC anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help to reduce inflammation within the airways, which can in turn help to alleviate some asthma symptoms.


For those who have allergies as well as asthma, OTC antihistamines can help to control allergic reactions which can trigger asthma symptoms. These medications can help to alleviate symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath.

Asthma Nebulizers

Although not a medication, a nebulizer can be purchased OTC and can be extremely effective in administering relief for asthma symptoms. It vaporizes liquid medication into a mist so that it can be inhaled into the lungs.


Some individuals find relief from asthma symptoms by taking certain dietary supplements. Magnesium and fish oil have both been studied for asthma and show some potential benefits. However, more research is needed to understand their role in asthma management.


Asthma is a chronic disease, and while over-the-counter medications are helpful in temporary relief of mild symptoms, they should not be seen as a cure or standalone treatment. Speak to a healthcare professional before starting any new medication regimen. Ensure allergies and other potential triggers of your asthma are well managed. Include a balanced diet, regular exercise, and taking prescribed asthma medication as directed are important in maintaining control over the disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What over the counter medication can be used for asthma?

An over-the-counter asthma inhaler, Primatene Mist, contains the active ingredient epinephrine. This can be used for temporary relief of mild asthma symptoms.

2. Can antihistamines help with asthma?

OTC antihistamines can help if you also have allergies which can trigger asthma symptoms. However, they should not be used as a standalone treatment for asthma.

3. Are there natural remedies for asthma?

While some natural remedies, such as magnesium and fish oil supplements, have shown potential benefits, more research is needed. Always consult with a health professional before trying new treatments.

4. Can asthma go away on its own?

Asthma is a chronic condition and does not simply go away on its own. While symptoms may lessen over time, it’s important to continue taking prescribed medication and monitor symptoms.

5. Why should I avoid using over-the-counter inhalers?

OTC inhalers only provide temporary relief of symptoms. They do not help control the inflammation that causes asthma symptoms. They should not be used as a standalone treatment for asthma.


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