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Berlin-Chemie has been developing, manufacturing and distributing pharmaceutical products for over 130 years and has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Menarini Group, the leading Italian pharmaceutical company, since 1992. 

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What is asthma?

Asthma is a complex condition involving chronic inflammation of the airways.1 It is characterised by the onset of varying symptoms such as wheezing, angina and cough, which may end in an asthma attack with acute dyspnoea (shortness of breath). The condition is also often associated with increased sensitivity of the airways.1 Symptoms may be triggered by allergens, airborne irritants, but also physical exercise and stressful situations. Data on prevalence varies significantly around the world.2 In Germany, around 10 percent of children and 5 percent of adults have asthma.2

What types of asthma are there?

Asthma can generally be divided into various types and new forms of asthma have been identified in recent years as a result of new scientific findings. Two important forms of asthma are allergic and non-allergic asthma:

  • Allergic asthma frequently occurs in conjunction with other allergic conditions. It is divided into seasonal and year-round forms
  • Non-allergic asthma may be triggered, for example, by respiratory tract infections or by intolerance to certain drugs (e.g. acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or non-steroidal anti-rheumatics). 

Asthma may occur for the first time at any age but the symptoms need not necessarily persist throughout a person’s life.3 There are some forms of asthma where symptoms only occur in childhood and adolescence: For example, around half of those with asthma that occurs for the first time in childhood or adolescence stop having typical asthma symptoms when they reach adulthood.3 However asthma may not occur until adulthood.3 This form of asthma tends not be to associated with an allergy but, for example, with chronic sinusitis.3 As the asthma condition progresses there may be recurring asthma attacks with acute shortness of breath and so-called asthma exacerbations.3

Asthma exacerbations are phases in which the symptoms of the asthma worsen and/or respiratory function decreases more than normal.3 During these phases treatment should be adjusted or escalated. Asthma attacks form part of these exacerbations. The exacerbations may vary in severity and may lead to complications if not properly treated.3 Any deterioration in health should therefore always be discussed with the doctor.

How is asthma treated?

Asthma cannot be cured, but there are now numerous treatment options that can enable people with asthma to have the same life expectancy as people without asthma.3 The general treatment approach now no longer involves simply responding to symptoms but preventing it from occurring over the long term, with the goal being to achieve the best possible asthma control or possibly even remission of the asthma.3
There are two main types of asthma medication: anti-inflammatories and bronchodilators (drugs that dilate the bronchial passages). Tiny amounts of the active ingredients are normally inhaled, allowing them to access the lungs directly. Anti-inflammatories help to reduce inflammation in the airways. There are two different types of bronchodilators: These are either fast-acting bronchodilators  which can instantly dilate the bronchial tubes and restore access to air in an emergency,4 or slow-acting bronchodilators which are often administered in combination with an anti-inflammatory drug.3 In severe cases antibody treatment is also used.3 In addition to drug therapy, sports activities or smoking cessation can be helpful concomitant measures.4 For people with allergic asthma, the priority recommendation is to avoid the triggering allergen.4



BÄK, KBV, AWMF. Nationale VersorgungsLeitlinie Asthma – Langfassung, 4. Auflage. Version 1. 2020

2  Wie häufig ist Asthma? - Lungeninformationsdienst (Last accessed: 15.01.2024)

Lommatzsch M et al. S2k-Leitlinie zur fachärztlichen Diagnostik und Therapie von Asthma 2023, Pneumologie 2023; 77: 461–543

Asthma – Wenn Atmen schwerfällt — (Last accessed: 15.01.2024)