A List of All Inhalers Part 1: The Bronchodilators

Editor's note: This is part 1 of a two-part series. Part 2 is titled 'A List of All Inhalers Part II: Combination Inhalers.'

So, there are lots of new inhalers on the market. Bronchodilator inhalers are top-line COPD medicines.

They are often the first medicines doctors prescribe for COPD.1 Since there are so many of them, I thought it would be neat list them all in one place. So, here is a list of all the bronchodilator inhalers approved by the FDA.1

Bronchodilator inhalers for COPD treatment

Short-acting beta agonists (SABA)

Molecules of these medicines have a high affinity for beta-2 (B2) receptor sites lining airways. Once they attach to B2 receptors, this causes muscles wrapped around airways to loosen up. This, in effect, dilates (opens) airways. This makes breathing easier. The medicine works fast. Therefore, they are often called Rescue Inhalers. But, they only last 4-6 hours, hence the term “short-acting.”

They include:

  • ProAir HFA. It contains albuterol
  • ProAir RespiClick. It contains albuterol.
  • Proventil HFA. It contains albuterol.
  • Ventolin HFA. It contains albuterol
  • Xopenex HFA. It contains levalbuterol.

Short-acting muscarinic antagonists (SABAs)

Molecules of these medicines are attracted to muscarinic receptors lining airways. A hormone called acetylcholine normally lands on these receptors. When this happens, it causes the muscles wrapped around airways to spasm. This causes the airways to become narrowed. It makes breathing difficult. SABAs prevent acetylcholine from doing its job. In this way, they dilate airways to make breathing easier. But, they only last 4-6 hours, hence the term “Short-Acting.”

  • Atrovent HFA. It contains ipatropium bromide.

Long-acting beta-agonists

Molecules of these medicines also attach to B2 receptors. But, they stay attached for 12-24 hours (depending on the medicine). So, in this way, they dilate airways. Then, they keep them open long-term.

  • Arcapta Neohaler. It contains indaceterol. The dose is one inhalation once daily.3
  • Serevent Diskus. It contains salmeterol. The dose is one inhalation twice daily.4
  • Striverdi Respimat. It contains olodaterol. The dose is two inhalations once daily.5

Long-acting muscarinic antagonists

These work the same as SABAs. But, they work for 24 hours, hence the term “Long-Acting.” They help to keep your airways open long term.

  • Seebri Neohaler. It contains glycopyrrolate. The dose is one inhalation twice daily.6
  • Incruse Ellipta. It contains umeclidium.
  • Spiriva HandiHaler. It contains tiotropium bromide
  • Spiriva Respimat. It contains tiotropium bromide.
  • Tudorza Pressair. It contains aclidinium bromide.

Combination inhalers

These are inhalers that combine two medicines. These are nice when two medicines are prescribed. It’s nice as far as convenience. But, it’s also nice as far as cost, because you get two medicines for the price of one. These are all meant to prevent symptoms and control COPD. At the present time, there are 4 inhalers that combine 2 different bronchodilators.

SABA plus SAMA

  • Combivent HFA. It contains albuterol plus ipatropium bromide

LABA plus LAMA

  • Anoro Ellipta. It contains vilanterol plus umeclidinium.
  • Stiolto Respitat. It contains olodaterol plus tiotropium bromide. The dose is 2 puffs once daily.
  • Utibron Neohaler. It contains indacaterol plus glycopyrrolate. The dose is one inhalation twice daily.

Speak with your doctor about which is right for you

These are all your bronchodilator inhaler options. Most people with COPD have one or two of these on hand at all times. What about you? Are any of these on your medicine list? Let us know in the comments below.

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