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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 symptoms.


Disclaimer:  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
BRONCHODILATORS (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 medicines." 
          Oral Bronchodilators 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.
ANTICHOLINERGICS are taken regularly to help control the tightening of the airways known as " bronchospasm."  They act as a "drying agent"
COMBINATION MEDICINES 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. 
CORTISTEROIDS help 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. 
ANTIBIOTICS 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.
OXYGEN 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.



Know Your COPD Medicines:  A Reference Guide for Canadians


This way to:    Drug Names & Equivalents -

as it relates to other countries and (as a reference only) for when discussing med names on message boards or forums.



For additional med info as it relates to warnings on Drugs...... from the FDA

Index to Drug-Specific Information  and


Health Canada


To check on Drug  Interactions?



Updated January 25th, 2010




























































































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