COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) (cont.)
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
In this Article
- What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
- What are the risk factors for COPD?
- What other diseases or conditions contribute to COPD?
- What causes COPD?
- What are the signs and symptoms of COPD?
- When should I call my doctor about COPD?
- How is COPD diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for COPD?
- Home remedies for COPD?
- Medications for COPD
- Surgery for COPD
- Can COPD be prevented?
- What is the prognosis and life expectancy for a person with COPD?
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) FAQs
- Find a local Pulmonologist in your town
Home remedies for COPD?
The most effective home remedy – in fact the most effective preventive therapy for COPD – is to avoid contact with tobacco smoke. If you use tobacco products – quit.
If a person with COPD has mild to moderate symptoms, often they can benefit from exercise programs that can increase their stamina and slow the advancing pace of COPD disease.
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 nicotine-containing 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 bronchodilators.
Some short-term medications include:
- albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil),
- metaproterenol (Alupent),
- levalbuterol (Xopenex), and
- pirbuterol (Maxair).
Some long-term bronchodilators include:
- salmeterol (Serevent),
- formoterol (Foradil),
- arformoterol (Brovana), and
- indacaterol (Arcapta).
Anticholinergic bronchodilators include:
- ipratropium (Atrovent),
- tiotropium (Spiriva), and
- aclidinium (Tudorza).
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.
Next: Surgery for COPD
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