COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
Medicine for COPD is used to:
- Reduce shortness of breath.
- Control coughing and wheezing.
- Prevent COPD flare-ups, also called exacerbations, or keep the flare-ups you do have from being life-threatening.
Most people with COPD find that medicines make breathing easier.
Some COPD medicines are used with devices called Reference inhalers Opens New Window or Reference nebulizers Opens New Window. Most doctors recommend using Reference spacers Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window with inhalers. It's important to learn how to use these devices correctly. Many people don't, so they don't get the full benefit from the medicine.
Reference Bronchodilators Opens New Window are used to open or relax your
Reference airways Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window and help your shortness of breath.
- Short-acting bronchodilators ease your symptoms. They are considered a good first choice for treating stable COPD in a person whose symptoms come and go (intermittent symptoms). They include:
Long-acting bronchodilators help
prevent breathing problems. They help people whose symptoms do not go away
(persistent symptoms). They include:
- Anticholinergics (such as tiotropium).
- Beta2-agonists (such as arformoterol, formoterol, or salmeterol).
- Reference Phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitors are taken every day to help prevent COPD exacerbations. The only PDE4 inhibitor available is roflumilast (Daliresp).
- Reference Corticosteroids (such as prednisone) may be used in pill form to treat a COPD flare-up or in an inhaled form to prevent flare-ups. They are often used if you also have Reference asthma Opens New Window.
- The long-acting antimuscarinic medicine aclidinium (Tudorza Pressair), which is delivered through a dry powder inhaler, may be taken as a daily controller medicine to prevent COPD exacerbations.
- Other medicines include Reference methylxanthines, which generally are used for severe cases of COPD. They may have serious side effects, so they are not usually recommended.
Tips for using inhalers
The first time you use a bronchodilator, you may not notice much improvement in your symptoms. This doesn't always mean that the medicine won't help. Try the medicine for a while before you decide if it is working.
Many people don't use their inhalers right, so they don't get the right amount of medicine. Ask your doctor or nurse to show you what to do. Read the instructions on the package carefully.
- Reference Reference Breathing Problems: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler with or without a spacer
- Reference Reference Breathing Problems: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 16, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology