Common Medications and Treatments for COPD

While there is no known cure for COPD yet, treatment plans have been devised to slow the progression of the disease and help maintain a more active life by relieving symptoms.

Living Healthy

The most crucial treatment is smoking cessation for those patients that still smoke, as this is the single worst culprit of COPD. There are many smoking cessation programs and medications.

Flare-ups of COPD symptoms are often associated with infections (viral and bacterial), as well as air pollutants. Any worsening of symptoms markedly increases a patient’s risk of death.

Thus, vaccinations are an important preventative measure. Patients with COPD should receive the following:

  • Flu shot
  • Pneumococcal (pneumonia) shot

Not to be overlooked is the impact lifestyle changes can have. Patients with COPD may want to seek out professionals to help them with the following:

  • Exercise plan
  • Nutritional advice
  • Psychological counseling
  • COPD management training

These programs help the COPD patient adjust to their condition and enable them to improve the quality of life.


Medical Treatments

Many times, some sort of medical intervention will be needed to treat the COPD patient. Treatment is specific to each individual. Side effects and warnings must be taken into consideration.



What it Does

How it Works

Bronchodilator Opens airways by relaxing surrounding musculature Used with inhalerComes in both a short acting (4-6 hrs) andlong acting (12 hrs) form.
Glucorticosteroid (steroid) Reduces airway inflammation Long term dosage or increased amounts have not shown increased benefitMethylprednisolone 40 mg/day X 10 daysDecreases length of hospital stay
Oxygen Increases the level of oxygen in the bloodPrevents right-sided heart failure Typically given in Stage 4/Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease casesOxygen comes with a portable delivery system:

  • Oxygen-gas cylinder
  • Oxygen concentrators (electrically driven to concentrate oxygen in air)
  • Liquid-oxygen devices

Used with nasal cannula or face mask

Surgery Abnormal tissue is removed so that remaining lung portions can work more efficiently Gives relief to severe cases who had no relief from other treatmentsRemoval of damaged lung tissue through a bullectomy (removal of abnormally large air sacs) or a lung transplant