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HealthSheets™

Medicines for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Some medicines for COPD help control or prevent symptoms. They are called maintenance medicines. Take these medicines every day. Or as instructed by your healthcare provider. Some are rescue medicines. Take these only when you have symptoms. These include more shortness of breath or chest tightness. Take this sheet with you to your next office visit. Ask your healthcare provider to help you fill it out.

Bronchodilators

What they do: Relax the muscles around airways. This lets you breathe more easily.

Short-acting beta-2 agonists. These start working shortly after you use them. They are rescue medicines.

My medicines: __________________________________________

When to take: __________________________________________

Long-acting beta-2 agonists. These work more slowly than the fast-acting type. But the effects last longer. They are maintenance medicines.

My medicines: __________________________________________

When to take: __________________________________________

Anticholinergics. Rescue: These may be used with a short-acting beta-2 agonist. This can help keep airways open.

My medicines: __________________________________________

When to take: __________________________________________

Anticholinergics. Maintenance: There are long acting.

My medicines: __________________________________________

When to take: __________________________________________

Methylxanthines. These are maintenance medicines. They have long-lasting effects. They may help if symptoms happen during sleep.

My medicines: __________________________________________

When to take: __________________________________________

Corticosteroids

What they do: Reduce inflammation, swelling, and mucus. This lets you breathe more easily.

Inhaled corticosteroids. These medicines are taken with an inhaler or nebulizer. They are maintenance medicines.

My medicines: __________________________________________

When to take: __________________________________________

Oral corticosteroids. These medicines are taken by mouth. They may be used when symptoms get worse.

My medicines: __________________________________________

When to take: __________________________________________

PDE4 (phosphodiesterase type 4) inhibitors

What they do: Reduce the risk for flare-ups if you have severe COPD.

My medicines: __________________________________________

When to take: __________________________________________

Combination medicines

What they do: Combine the effects of different types of medicines. For example, a combination medicine may relax the muscles around the airways. And it may lessen airway swelling or inflammation.

My medicines: __________________________________________

When to take: __________________________________________

Other medicines

Other medicines for COPD.

My medicine: __________________________________________

What it does: __________________________________________

When to take: __________________________________________

Herbal products and supplements

Some products for COPD are available without a prescription. These include herbs, extracts, or supplements. Talk with your healthcare provider before taking any of these products. They can interact with medicines you’re taking.

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.