For the 25 million Americans currently coping with asthma, the accepted method of treatment is to take, twice-a-day, inhaled corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation in the airways. Patients are also required to take rescue medication, normally albuterol, when they have symptoms or are in the midst of an asthma attack. But a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has indicated that daily inhalers may be unnecessary for many asthma sufferers.

The study, conducted by researchers from 10 different universities, followed 342 adults with moderate, persistent asthma. They were divided into three groups. One group had their medication adjusted every six weeks after a check-up, the second group had their medication adjusted after a test that measured the amount of nitric oxide they exhaled, and the third group adjusted the medication themselves.

The third group also did not have to take their daily inhaler as prescribed, but simply took it when they felt symptoms, along with a dose of albuterol. Researchers found that all three groups fared the same and had about the same amount of symptoms and flare-ups.

Doctors do caution that these results may not hold true for children, whose lungs are affected differently than adults, and caution that parents of children with asthma should not eliminate daily inhalers from their children's schedules.

Nonetheless, the news is still probably welcome for many asthma sufferers. Decreasing inhaler use from daily increments to just when they have symptoms will cut down on costs - potentially a savings of a combined $2 billion a year. Though asthma currently affects only 8 percent of the population, incidences of the condition have skyrocketed in recent years, especially in low-income communities. It is estimated that asthma costs taxpayers $3,300 per patient, or a combined $50 billion a year.

In 2008, more than half of people with asthma missed a day of work or school because of the condition. The CDC reports that asthma killed 3,388 people in 2009.