Corticosteroids have been used as drug treatment for some time. Lewis Sarett of Merck & Co. was the first to synthesize cortisone, using a complicated 36-step process that started with deoxycholic acid, which was extracted from ox bile .  The low efficiency of converting deoxycholic acid into cortisone led to a cost of US $200 per gram. Russell Marker , at Syntex , discovered a much cheaper and more convenient starting material, diosgenin from wild Mexican yams . His conversion of diosgenin into progesterone by a four-step process now known as Marker degradation was an important step in mass production of all steroidal hormones, including cortisone and chemicals used in hormonal contraception .  In 1952, . Peterson and . Murray of Upjohn developed a process that used Rhizopus mold to oxidize progesterone into a compound that was readily converted to cortisone.  The ability to cheaply synthesize large quantities of cortisone from the diosgenin in yams resulted in a rapid drop in price to US $6 per gram, falling to $ per gram by 1980. Percy Julian's research also aided progress in the field.  The exact nature of cortisone's anti-inflammatory action remained a mystery for years after, however, until the leukocyte adhesion cascade and the role of phospholipase A2 in the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes was fully understood in the early 1980s.
Pulmicort (budesonide) can come in solution which for asthma is then inhaled by using a nebulizer machine to aerosolize the medication. Swallowed Pulmicort (budesonide) is combined with other components such as Splenda to create a slurry which is then swallowed. This Swallowed budesonide (Pulmicort) Slurry may be used for those who may have more difficuly with dry swallowing fluticasone from an MDI. For those who are on swallowed steroids it is recommended not to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after taking this medication so that it can provide optimal coating of the esophagus. Furthermore, anyone on these medications should swish and spit or brush their teeth after each use to remove any residual steroids in the mouth where it may have unwanted side effects.
Advair (Fluticasone + Salmeterol) : The original combination inhaler is still the most popular. Basically it combines a steroid with a long acting beta adrenergic (LABA). The steroid controls inflammation while the LABA keeps your lungs relaxed around the clock. The combination of these medicines has worked wonders for many asthmatics. The best part of this medicine is all you need to do is take one puff in the morning and one before bed. This greatly improves complaince, and that alone I think has benefited many asthmatics.