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Definition: Quick-Relief Medicines

Quick-Relief Medicines

Also called: Rescue Medicines or Fast-Acting Medicines

Quick-relief medicines are a type of medicine used by people with asthma to relieve asthma symptoms (such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath) or to treat an asthma flare-up. They act quickly to stop symptoms, but the effects aren't long lasting.

Most are inhaled and work by relaxing the muscle around the airways (the tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs), making the airways wider and allowing breathing to become easier within minutes. They don't treat the underlying inflammation of the airways — this can require daily treatment with other types of medicines called long-term control medicines. Some people with asthma rely only on rescue medications; others use a rescue medicine with a long-term control medicine to help keep their asthma in check.

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