COPD Medications & Drugs
Unfortunately, there is still no cure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and the damage that this disease causes to the lungs is irreversible. However, there are a number of medications available which can help patients better control the symptoms associated with COPD. These COPD drugs can also help to reduce the risk of exacerbations and hospitalization, while leading to a better quality of life for that patient and their family.
Currently, the medications used for COPD can be divided into several groups based on how they are taken and how they will treat the patient’s symptoms. Doctors can prescribe some of these COPD drugs to be taken on a regular basis and others only as needed. COPD can be treated with the following:
Bronchodilators are drugs which will work to relax the muscles surrounding a patient’s airways. With COPD, the airways can become obstructed, but bronchodilators (these are most often prescribed as inhalers) can help to relieve these symptoms. COPD patients can use these drugs whenever they are experiencing chronic cough or shortness of breath in order to making breathing easier. Depending on whether you have moderate to severe COPD, patients may require a short-acting bronchodilator before they engage in any physical activities, or a long-lasting bronchodilator that can be taken at the start of every day, or they may require both forms.
Another group of medications that are often prescribed for people with COPD are inhaled steroids. An inhaled corticosteroid medication can help to reduce the amount of airway inflammation and obstruction that this disease can cause, thus allowing the patient to breathe a little bit easier. Unfortunately, these inhaled corticosteroids can also cause reported severe side effects. Doctors will often strongly advise against using these COPD drugs for an extended period of time, as this can lead to high blood pressure, cataracts, weaker bones, and even diabetes. This type of medication is most often used for people who have a more severe case of COPD.
The third group of COPD drugs that we will be discussing here are in fact antibiotics. This is a common form of medication today, and if you have ever had a particularly nasty cold or illness, than you have probably been on antibiotics before. Doctors choose to prescribe antibiotics for some COPD patients, because various respiratory infections (pneumonia, acute bronchitis, influenza, etc.) could cause an exacerbation of their symptoms. With antibiotics, their body will stand a better chance of fighting off these bacterial infections, though they should only be taken if necessary.
Every case of COPD is different, although most cases can be prevented. Therefore, each patient will require their own personalized drug regimen that is most appropriate for their symptoms, as deemed necessary by their health care professional. If you have already been tested for COPD, speak with your doctor today to develop the best-suited drug and therapy regimen for you.