Medicines Frequently Used in the
Treatment of COPD
An Overview of the "TYPES"
Medicines can't cure the disease, but they can help
considerably with your
The information below is far from all inclusive.
Additionally it has NOT been reviewed by a Dr. It is intended solely for
information purposes only. Dosage, alternative medicines, side effects etc
are not included nor listed here. It is important that you have your Dr.
and/or pharmacist fully explain how these and other medicines work and what to
expect. ALWAYS ask questions and speak with your Dr.
For additional & "Individual Drug" information,
please check the bottom of this page.
"TYPE" Of Medicine
What They Do
(short and long lasting types) Relax the muscles around your airways thereby
increasing the flow of air. Usually they're inhaled (using puffers) but
some can be taken by pill, liquids or in nebulizers.
Short Acting Bronchodilators (Beta-2 Agonists)
provide relief within a few minutes by
relaxing the smooth muscles. However; the effects of them
only lasts 4-6 hours.
Long Acting Bronchodilators
can last 12 - 24 hours depending on the
product. Quite often they're referred to as "controllers" or "maintenance
are taken by mouth and work to
relax the muscles around the airways. They help to relieve breathlessness.
Quite often they're used to help the inhaled medicines.
are taken regularly to help control the tightening of the airways known as " bronchospasm." They act as a "drying agent"
Sometimes there's a need to combine 2 different
medicines in one dosage for the best effect. For instance a short acting
Beta 2 and a anticholinergic.
stabilize the lungs.
They can be inhaled or taken in tablet form. They can also be
given as injections or in liquid form for a nebulizer.They're anti-
inflammatories which work over a period of time to help reduce cough and
inflammation and help to make breathing easier.
ORAL STEROIDS (Tablet Form)
slow down your adrenal gland and
are often prescribed when you are having an exacerbation (a flare up)
or a lung infection. It's very important to follow your Dr's
instructions when taking this medicine.
are used to treat bacterial infections. Because your lungs
are weakened you should contact your Dr at the first signs of an infection.
A few signs to be aware of are increased cough, wheeze or shortness of
breath, a change in mucus colour, consistency or amount, a fever or chills.
We all have the same addiction which we were born with.
Oxygen. Sometimes you have to use supplemental oxygen for a short while (after
an illness) or long term. Used with small nasal prongs or a mask, it's
supplied via a oxygen tank (cylinder) or a concentrator.
FLU & PNEUMONIA VACCINES
You should get an annual flu shot (usually in the fall).
Pneumonia vaccines are needed only once though a booster is recommended every
five - ten years.