Your asthma treatment has two main goals:

  1. To keep your asthma under control (this is the "controller" part of your treatment). If your controller treatment is working properly, you should not have any asthma attacks, your asthma should not wake you up at night, you should not miss time from work or school due to your asthma, and your asthma symptoms should not limit your activities. If you're not sure whether your asthma is under control, take the Asthma Control Challenge.
  2. To relieve your asthma symptoms when they occur (this is the "reliever" part of your treatment). If your reliever treatment is working properly, it should help relieve your asthma symptoms when you use it as outlined in your asthma action plan. If you're not getting relief from your symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Note that your reliever and controller medications may come in separate inhalers, or together in a single inhaler.