Frequently Used Medications for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Bronchodilators (bronko-die-laters) are the most frequently given medications for COPD. These drugs help prevent (and can reverse) the tightening of the muscles around the airways. Bronchodilators are inhaled through the mouth. Anti-inflammatories (corticosteroids) are also given for COPD because they reduce inflammation and the resulting swelling of the airways. The corticosteroid medications (for example, prednisone) are taken in pill form, but they can also be given using an inhaler. Antibiotics may be prescribed for infections affecting the lungs.
NOTE: Ask the doctor or pharmacist for detailed instructions about how COPD medications are given, including the metered-dose inhaler and nebulizer (a machine that produces a fine spray containing medicine that a person inhales).