Nursing: Pharmacologic Management of Asthma

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About the Course

Although asthma is a lifelong disease with no cure, it can be controlled. Asthma medicines are used to prevent and control symptoms, to reduce the frequency and severity of acute attacks, and to reverse acute airflow obstruction. This course presents general pharmacologic interventions for managing asthma as recommended by the National Asthma Education Prevention Program that released the Expert Panel Report (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma and the Global Initiative for Asthma guidelines, which are considered the “gold standard” for treating and managing asthma. Asthma medicines are grouped into two general classes: quick-relief (rescue) and long-term control. Asthma therapy should match the severity of asthma symptoms. Persons classified as having intermittent asthma who are experiencing mild symptoms and those with exercise-induced asthma should be treated with quick-relief medication on an as-needed basis.  Those with persistent symptoms should additionally receive a long-term controller medication or medications (intended to be used daily) for asthma control.

Learning Outcomes: 
Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
  • Describe the role of quick-relief medications in the treatment of asthma and their side effects.
  • Describe long-term control medications in the treatment of asthma and their side effects.
  • Discuss the stepwise approach to medication therapy based on asthma severity levels.
  • Describe the vaccines recommended for persons with asthma.
  • Describe the different techniques for asthma medication administration.

This course is an extract of, and should not be taken with the course Asthma Management in Children and Adults, 2nd Edition.

About the Author: 
Judith Quaranta, PhD, RN, CPN, AE-C, FNAP

Judith Quaranta, PhD, RN, CPN, AE-C, FNAP, is an assistant professor in the Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University. She received her PhD from the Decker School of Nursing, with her dissertation focusing on asthma management of school nurses. Dr. Quaranta’s research focus is on barriers and facilitators for asthma management. As a Train the Trainer for the American Lung Association’s Open Airways for Schools curriculum, she has worked collaboratively with the Broome County Health Department, the Asthma Coalition of the Southern Tier, United Health Services Hospital, and the local American Lung Association to implement this program in local schools. Through integration of Open Airways into course content, undergraduate nursing students teach the program, allowing for sustainability of Open Airways and providing access to asthma self-management education. Dr. Quaranta has been a pediatric nurse since 1979, received her certification in pediatric nursing in 1995, and earned her asthma educator certification in 2009. In April 2017, she was inducted into the National Academies of Practice of Nursing as a Distinguished Fellow for her work with asthma, with a focus on the inter-professional collaboration. Dr. Quaranta has received Individual Development Awards from Binghamton University, as well as a Transdisciplinary Area of Excellence Award to further her research in asthma. She has presented at multiple national conferences on the topic of asthma and self-management. Dr. Quaranta has also authored for numerous journals including the Journal of School Nursing, Journal of Asthma and Allergy Educators, Online Journal of Rural Nursing, Journal of Family Social Work, and Journal of Interprofessional Care and authored chapters in textbooks on research and community and public health.  

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