The Right Medicines Can Help You Get Control of Asthma. BlueCare SM TennCareSelect

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1 The Right Medicines Can Help You Get Control of Asthma BlueCare SM TennCareSelect

2 WHEEZING. COUGHING. SHORTNESS OF BREATH. CHEST TIGHTNESS. If you or a family member has asthma, you know these symptoms well. It may seem like asthma is in control. Most adults and children can manage asthma with the right long term and quick relief medicines. Most people with asthma need 2 kinds of medicine. Long term medicines prevent asthma symptoms and attacks. Quick relief medicines help to stop an asthma attack. There is no best medicine for everyone s asthma. Age, symptoms, and how severe they are determine the right medicines and doses. By following an asthma control plan, you can: Breathe better Do more of the things you like to do Reduce symptoms

3 Long term asthma control medicines Many adults and children need long term medicines to prevent symptoms and attacks. You take these every day even if you aren t having symptoms. They reduce swelling and tightness in airways to improve and control asthma. There are several types of long term medicines for asthma: Inhaled corticosteroids These are the most commonly used medicines to reduce inflammation, swelling, and tightness. When used regularly, they can reduce attacks and control problems caused by poorly controlled asthma. Leukotriene modifiers The body s immune system makes leukotrienes that can cause asthma symptoms. This medicine blocks their effects for up to 24 hours. Long-acting beta agonists (LABAs) This is a type of bronchodilator. It relaxes muscles around airways to open them, and it reduces swelling. Theophyline This bronchodilator is taken as a pill. It treats mild asthma symptoms. It relaxes muscles around airways and keeps the lungs from reacting to irritants. It can help nighttime asthma symptoms. Combination inhalers (corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists) Some inhaled asthma treatments have a corticosteroid and a bronchodilator.

4 Medicines for asthma attacks Quick relief medicines (short acting betaagonists) These are also called rescue medications. They provide quick, short-term relief of symptoms or stop attacks. They start to work in minutes. Ipratropium This is a short acting bronchodilator. It is usually used to treat other lung conditions. It can also be used for asthma attacks. It can be used with or in place of a quick relief medicine. Oral corticosteroids These medicines are used to treat very severe asthma attacks. Treatment when allergies trigger asthma Many things that trigger allergies also cause asthma symptoms. This is allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma. You can reduce asthma symptoms by avoiding things that trigger your allergies. Medicines can treat allergy triggers you can t avoid. Allergy shots This is called immunotherapy. Simple skin tests help to find your asthma triggers. Small doses of allergens are given as a series of shots. Over time, you will not be as sensitive to the triggers. Omalizumab This medicine treats asthma from airborne allergens. These can be pollen, dust mites or pet dander. It is a shot given every two to four weeks. It is usually for those who are 12 and older. Allergy medicines There are many prescription and non prescription medicines for allergies. Your doctor can tell you which are best for your symptoms. Contact the Pharmacy Benefits Manager (*Magellan) at for specific information on these medicines. *Pharmacy benefits are provided by Magellan, an independent company that does not provide BlueCare Tennessee branded products and services. Magellan is solely responsible for administering pharmacy benefits.

5 Using inhalers properly to manage asthma attacks You must use an inhaler, spacer or nebulizer the right way to get all the medicine into the lungs. Don t wait until an asthma attack to find out how to use these. Ask a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or respiratory therapist to show you how to use it. Demonstrate it back to them to make sure you got it right. General instructions for using an inhaler: 1. Remove cap and shake inhaler 2. Tilt head back and breathe out 3. Hold inhaler the width of two fingers from open mouth. Compress and inhale. 4. Breathe in slowly for 3-5 seconds 5. Hold breath for 10 seconds 6. Wait at least one minute and continue as directed

6 Do you have an asthma action plan? Having a written asthma action plan is the best way to handle an asthma attack. Using a peak flow meter daily is important to manage asthma and prevent attacks. The meter measures how fast air comes out of the lungs when you inhale then exhale forcefully. Keeping a record of your peak flow levels will help you know when to follow the steps on the asthma action plan from your doctor. If your child has asthma, make the school or daycare aware of the action plan. An asthma action plan should tell you: Early signs you should watch for that show your asthma is getting worse. These could include a drop in your peak flow number or symptoms increasing. How to adjust medicines when you have a drop in your peak flow number or increased symptoms; and The peak flow levels and symptoms at which you need emergency treatment.

7 Make the most of your asthma treatment plan You will manage asthma better with the right long term and quick relief medicines. Symptoms can change over time. Work with your doctor to track your symptoms. Record how severe they are, when they happen, and how they affect sleep and activities. This will help your doctor choose the right medicines and adjust them as symptoms change. Even if asthma improves or is well controlled, you should see a health care provider regularly and continue taking the recommended medicines. Talk to your doctor about an asthma action plan and the best medicines to control asthma. Your doctor can explain medicines, proper doses, and how and when to take them. He can show you how to use inhalers, spacers, or nebulizers. Ask how you use a peak flow meter to monitor asthma. Discuss with your doctor if your medicines have generic versions. Sources: Mayo Clinic American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology American Lung Association National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute -

8 Habla español y necesita ayuda con esta carta? Llámenos gratis al BlueCare Llámenos gratis al TennCareSelect We do not allow unfair treatment in TennCare sm. No one is treated in a different way because of race, color, birthplace, religion, language, sex, age, or disability. Do you think you ve been treated unfairly? Do you have more questions or need more help? If you think you ve been treated unfairly, call the Tennessee Health Connection for free at If you have a hearing or speech problem you can call us on a TTY/ TDD machine. Our TTY number is 711 and ask for Need help in another language? You can call TennCareSelect for assistance in any language at Call BlueCare for assistance in any language at Or you can get other help with TennCare by calling the numbers below. Interpretation and translation services are free to TennCare members. Foreign Language Lines Call if you need help and need to speak with someone in one of these languages: (Arabic) Bosanski (Bosnian) (Kurdish-Badinani) (Kurdish-Sorani) Soomaali (Somali) Español (Spanish) Ngúói Việt (Vietnamese) Do you need help with this information? Is it because you have a health, mental health, or learning problem or a disability? Or, do you need help in another language? If so, you have a right to get help, and we can help you. Call BlueCare Customer Service at for more information. Call TennCareSelect Customer Service at for more information. Do you have a mental illness and need help with this information? The TennCare Advocacy Program can help you. Call them for free at BlueCare Tennessee 1 Cameron Hill Circle Chattanooga, TN bluecare.bcbst.com BlueCare Tennessee and BlueCare, Independent Licensees of BlueCross BlueShield Association. BCT-31 (3/15)

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