COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) - Medications
COPD is used to:
- Reduce shortness of breath.
coughing and wheezing.
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
Some COPD medicines are used with devices called
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.
- BronchodilatorsBronchodilators are used to open or relax your
airways 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:
- Anticholinergics (such as
- Beta2-agonists (such as albuterol or
- A combination of the two (such as a combination of albuterol and ipratropium).
- Long-acting bronchodilators help
prevent breathing problems. They help people whose symptoms do not go away
(persistent symptoms). They include:
- Anticholinergics (such as aclidinium, tiotropium, or umeclidinium).
- Beta2-agonists (such as formoterol or
- A combination of the two, or a combination of a beta2-agonist and a corticosteroid medicine.
- Phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitors are taken every day to help prevent COPD exacerbations. The only PDE4 inhibitor available is roflumilast (Daliresp).
(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
- Other medicines include 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 health care provider to show you what to do.
Read the instructions on the package carefully.
Most doctors recommend using
spacers with metered-dose inhalers. But you should not use a spacer with a dry
- Breathing Problems: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler with or without a spacer
- Breathing Problems: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler