Bronchodilators as COPD MedicationsBronchodilators are medications that work by opening up the airways, usually by relaxing the muscles of the airways. A few different types of bronchodilators are used to treat COPD. These medicines include:
- Short-acting beta agonists, such as:
- Long-acting beta agonists, some of which come in combination with a steroid or anticholinergic drug, such as:
- Arformoterol (Brovana®)
- Indacaterol maleate (Arcapta™)
- Vilanterol/fluticasone (Breo® Ellipta™) or vilanterol/umeclidinium (Anoro™ Ellipta™)
- Formoterol (Foradil®, Perforomist®), formoterol/budesonide (Symbicort®), or formoterol/mometasone (Dulera®)
- Salmeterol (Serevent®) or salmeterol/fluticasone (Advair®)
- Anticholinergic bronchodilators, such as:
- Theophylline (Elixophyllin®, Theo-24®, TheoCap™, Theochron®, Uniphyl®).
Short-acting beta-agonists are often used on an "as needed" basis, while long-acting beta agonists are usually taken every day.
Typically, an anticholinergic medication (ipratropium or tiotropium) should be the first medication used for treating COPD. If necessary, a beta-agonist may be added.