Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Bronchodilators

Bronchodilators open up the air passages making breathing easier. Narrowing of the air passages causes wheezing, commonly seen in people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Inhaled bronchodilator medications can more quickly open narrowed air passages since they are inhaled directly into the lungs.

These medications come in two forms:

Some of these medications come in liquid form: a nebulizer pumps compressed air through the liquid, in order to create a mist of medication that can be inhaled. Most of these medications come as a metered dose inhaler.

Short-acting inhaled bronchodilators include:

Long-acting inhaled bronchodilators include:

Combination of long-acting inhaled bronchodilators + corticosteroid include:

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Last Updated: Dec 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Obstructive Pulmonary Disease References
  1. Celli BR, Thomas NE, Anderson JA, Ferguson GT, Jenkins CR, Jones PW, Vestbo J, Knobil K, Yates JC, Calverley PM. Effect of pharmacotherapy on rate of decline of lung function in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: results from the TORCH study. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2008 Aug 15;178(4):332-8. Epub 2008 May 29. [18511702]
  2. Doherty DE, Briggs DD Jr. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: epidemiology, pathogenesis, disease course, and prognosis. Clin Cornerstone. 2004;Suppl 2:S5-16. [15500179]
  3. Ebell MH. Systemic corticosteroids for acute exacerbations of COPD. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Aug 1;72(3):437-8. [16100857]
  4. Kerstjens H, Postma D, Ten Hacken N. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Clin Evid. 2004 Jun;(11):2003-30. [15652094]
  5. Weder MM, Donohue JF. Role of bronchodilators in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Apr;26(2):221-34. [16088439]
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