5 Types of COPD Treatments
COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, affects millions of people around the world. It is a condition that affects the lungs and often times causes breathing difficulties. COPD currently cannot be cured, but with treatment, its progression can be slowed. This means that many people living with COPD can live a longer, fuller life. There are five treatment options that people use to mitigate the rate at which their COPD progresses.
1. Short-Acting Bronchodilators
Bronchodilators are useful for widening the airways so that people suffering from COPD can breathe much more easily. Short-acting bronchodilators are used in emergency situations where immediate relief is needed. This treatment is taken via inhaler or nebulizer. Common forms of short-acting bronchodilators include albuterol, levalbuterol, and ipratropium.
2. Long-Acting Bronchodilators
These bronchodilators are different in that they are used to treat COPD symptoms over a longer term. They assist gradually with breathing difficulties; therefore, they cannot be used to treat in emergency situations. These types of bronchodilators are taken once or twice per day in the form of an inhaler or nebulizer. There are many long-term bronchodilator treatments used by physicians including tiotropium, salmeterol, indacaterol, arformoterol, formoterol, and aclidinium.
Often times, COPD cause inflammation in the airways, and this is where many of the breathing difficulties can stem from. Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation, creating an easier flow of air to and from the lungs. This medication is often prescribed with bronchodilators in order to improve air flow in the lungs. Common corticosteroid treatments include fluticasone, budesonide, and prednisolone.
4. Phosphodiesterase-4 Inhibitors
Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors are also used to control inflammation so that air flow can easily pass to and from the lungs. These types of treatment are commonly prescribed along with long-acting bronchodilators. Often times, doctors will prescribe roflumilast in particular to treat COPD.
Lastly, there are certain cases in which the symptoms experienced from COPD are so severe that the formerly mentioned treatments simply aren’t powerful enough. When a patient’s COPD symptoms are severe enough, their physician will prescribe a methylxanthine treatment. The most common drug prescribed is theophylline. This drug is a powerful anti-inflammation medication that is commonly taken with a bronchodilator treatment. This pill can be taken in either liquid or pill form, and it dramatically improves the ability to breathe easily in patients suffering from COPD.