Refractory (non-reversible) asthma is a severe form of asthma, which is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the airways to swell, become narrow, and produce extra mucus. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. An asthma attack is an episode of severe asthma related symptoms that can be triggered by exercise, an environmental irritant, or an allergy. Some cases of asthma are mild and can be easily controlled with medication. However, people with refractory asthma have chronic asthma symptoms and frequent asthma attacks that do not respond to typical asthma medications. Individuals with refractory asthma require aggressive therapy, including steroid treatment. If you or your child has been diagnosed with refractory asthma, talk with your doctor to discuss the best treatment plan.