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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - control drugs

Alternative names

COPD - control drugs

Description

Control medicines for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are drugs you take to control or prevent symptoms of COPD. You must use them every day for them to work well.

These medicines are not used to treat flare-ups. Flare-ups are treated with quick-relief (rescue) drugs.

Depending on the medicine, control drugs help you breathe easier by:

  • Relaxing the muscles in your airways
  • Reducing any swelling in your airways
  • Helping the lungs work better

You and your doctor can make a plan for the control drugs that you should use. This plan will include when you should take them and how much you should take.

You may need to take these drugs for at least a month before you start to feel better. Take them even when you feel OK.

Ask your doctor about the side effects of any medicines you are prescribed. Be sure you know which side effects are serious enough that you need to call your doctor right away.

Make sure you get your medicine refilled before you run out.

Anticholinergic inhalers

Anticholinergic inhalers include:

  • Aclidinium (Tudorza Pressair)
  • Ipratropium (Atrovent)
  • Tiotropium (Spiriva)

Use your anticholinergic inhalers every day, even if you do not have symptoms.

Beta-agonist inhalers

Beta-agonist inhalers include:

  • Arformoterol (Brovana)
  • Formoterol (Foradil)
  • Salmeterol (Serevent)

Do not use a spacer with beta-agonist inhalers.

Inhaled corticosteroids

Inhaled corticosteroids include:

  • Beclomethasone (Qvar)
  • Fluitcasone (Flovent)
  • Ciclesonide (Alvesco)
  • Mometasone (Asmanex)
  • Budesonide (Pulmincort)

After you use these drugs, rinse your mouth with water, gargle, and spit.

Combination inhaled medicines

Combination medicines combine two drugs and are inhaled. They include:

  • Budesonide and formoterol (Symbicort)
  • Fluticasone and salmeterol (Advair)
  • Fluticasone and vilanterol (Breo Ellipta)
  • Ipratropium and albuterol (Combivent Respimat)

Phosphodiesterase inhibitor

Roflumilast (Daliresp) is a tablet that is swallowed.

References

Anderson B, Conner Anderson B, Conner K, Dunn C, et al. Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). https://www.icsi.org/_asset/yw83gh/COPD.pdf. Accessed May 5, 2014.

Balkissoon R, Lommatzsch S, Carolan B, Make B. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a concise review. Med Clin N Am. 2011;95:1125-1141.


Review Date: 4/26/2014
Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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