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A variety of medications are available for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Common COPD medications include bronchodilators, steroids, antibiotics, and immunizations. If your current medication is not adequately controlling your COPD symptoms, or if you are experiencing bothersome side effects, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about a different COPD medication or combination of medications.

An Overview of COPD Medications

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease in which the lungs are damaged, leading to long-term breathing problems. With COPD, the airways (the tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs) are partly obstructed, making it difficult to breathe. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two kinds of COPD. While smoking is the most common cause of COPD, there are other possible causes.
 
Depending on the severity of your COPD, your healthcare provider may recommend a number of medications as part of your COPD treatment. These may include:
 
  • Bronchodilators (medications to open up the airways)
  • Steroids (including inhaled steroids)
  • Antibiotics
  • Immunizations.
     
In addition to being COPD drugs, most (but not all) of these medications are commonly used to treat asthma (see Asthma Medication). Please note that some of the medications mentioned in this article, while sometimes used for COPD treatment, are not officially approved to treat COPD. They were approved as asthma medications.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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