Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Treatment

There is no cure for COPD because the damage done to the lungs is permanent. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms of COPD, so that a person can continue to perform normal activities. The single most important part of treatment is to stop smoking, which will prevent COPD from becoming worse. Additional treatment for COPD includes bronchodilator medications for wheezing. Inhaled and oral corticosteroid medications hep to reduce inflammation and mucus in the air passageways.

Immunizations against pneumonia and influenza help protect those with COPD from severe symptoms caused by these infections. Early treatment with antibiotics for bronchitis may also help avoid worsening symptoms of COPD.

Those with severe COPD may require home oxygen therapy. When difficulty breathing becomes severe, a person with COPD may require admission to the hospital for intravenous (IV) medications and chest physiotherapy. Respiratory failure may warrant nasal positive pressure ventilation or mechanical ventilation.

The treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may include:

Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Drugs

Medications for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) include:

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:

Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of COPD.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • Do I need a special exercise program?
  • Will I need physical therapy?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for bronchitis and pneumonia?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat COPD:

Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Vaccines

Some vaccinations can help reduce the risk for pneumonia in those with COPD.

Most doctors recommend:

Continue to Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

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]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.