What medications have been helpful in treating COPD?
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Medications for COPD
Nicotine replacement therapy
The first line of therapy that involves medication is related to smoking
cessation with nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement therapy can
help patients quit smoking tobacco because it can help reduce the withdrawal
symptoms due to nicotine. Replacement therapies include
chewing gum and
patches that allow nicotine to be absorbed through the skin. In
these types of therapy, nicotine is gradually reduced. This medication can work
well for those patients who are seriously attempting to quit tobacco.
Quitting smoking oral medication
Varenicline (Chantix) is an oral medication that is prescribed to promote
cessation of smoking. This is also an alternative to try to quit smoking.
Bronchodilators are used for COPD treatment because they open up the airway
tubes and allow air to more freely pass in and out of the lung tissue. There are
both short-term (several hours) and long-term (12 or more hours) types of
Some short-term medications include:
levalbuterol (Xopenex), and
Some long-term bronchodilators include:
arformoterol (Brovana), and
Anticholinergic bronchodilators include:
tiotropium (Spiriva), and
Other bronchodilators such as theophylline are occasionally used but
are not favored because of unwanted side effects including anxiety, tremors,
Also on the market are combined to drugs using
steroids and long-acting bronchodilators. Roflumilast (Daxas, Daliresp) is a new
drug that inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase type 4, has been utilized in
patients with symptoms of chronic bronchitis.
Other supplementary therapies such as treatment with antibiotics to reduce
pathogen (viral, fungal, bacterial) damage to lung tissue, mucolytic agents to help unblock mucus-clogged
airways, or oxygenation therapies to increase the available oxygen to lung
tissues may also reduce the symptoms of COPD.
In some patients oxygen therapy
will increase a patient's life expectancy and improve quality of life. This is
especially true with patients who have chronically low oxygen levels in the
blood. It may also help exercise endurance. Oxygen delivery systems are now
easily portable and have reduced costs compared to earlier designs.