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What are 5 tips for using inhaled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) medicine?

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1. Know how to use it. When you first get the prescription, go over the instructions with your doctor or pharmacist (if you have a nebulizer, talk with a representative from the medical supply company).

2. Know when to use it. Is it only for times when you have a COPD flare-up? Or do you need it every day?

3. Know how much you need. Always follow the prescription exactly. Never take more or less than your doctor recommends. If you have a COPD flare-up and your normal dosage doesn’t help, don't keep taking more. Instead, get medical help right away.

4. Know what the drug does. You might need more than one kind of inhaled medication. The most common treatment for COPD is a bronchodilator, which relaxes the muscles around the airways. Some people with COPD need treatment with inhaled corticosteroids, which can curb swelling in the air passages.

5. Make sure you always know how much medicine you have left. Get refills on time -- you never want to run out unexpectedly.

SOURCES:

Norman Edelman, MD, chief medical officer, American Lung Association.

Gail Weinmann, MD, deputy director, NHLBI’s Division of Lung Diseases, Washington D.C.

American Association for Respiratory Care.

American Lung Association.

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

National Jewish Health.

National Lung Health Education Program.

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on ,

SOURCES:

Norman Edelman, MD, chief medical officer, American Lung Association.

Gail Weinmann, MD, deputy director, NHLBI’s Division of Lung Diseases, Washington D.C.

American Association for Respiratory Care.

American Lung Association.

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

National Jewish Health.

National Lung Health Education Program.

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on ,

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What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?

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