Skip to content
Font Size

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) - Medications

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 inhalers or nebulizers. 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.

Medicine choices

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 health care provider to show you what to do. Read the instructions on the package carefully.

Most doctors recommend using spacers slideshow.gif with metered-dose inhalers. But you should not use a spacer with a dry powder inhaler.

actionset.gif Breathing Problems: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler with or without a spacer
actionset.gif Breathing Problems: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 24, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man talking to his doctor
    Check your COPD risk.
    woman using inhaler
    What is the top cause of this condition?
     
    chest x-ray
    7 early warning signs.
    Senior couple stretching
    10 exercises for people With COPD.
     
    Bronchitis Overview
    Article
    Senior woman blowing dandelion
    ARTICLE
     
    Living With Copd
    VIDEO
    human lung graphic
    Article
     
    Energy Boosting Foods
    Slideshow
    red heart and ekg
    Article
     
    Living With Copd
    Article
    Senior couple stretching
    Slideshow