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7 More Things To Be Thankful For

Three years ago I wrote an article called “5 Things To Be Thankful For.” So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are seven more things to be thankful for.

Much better wisdom

COPD wasn’t defined as a disease until 1948. Can you imagine being born back then with COPD? There weren’t many options available. Fast forward 69 years and researchers have learned a ton about our disease. In fact, if we go back just 20 years we can see much has improved. Back then, COPD airway inflammation was thought to be the same as asthma airway inflammation. Today we know it’s different and responds to different treatments. This has lead pharmaceuticals in a completely different direction when searching for answers.

Different treatment strategies

Some of the same medicines used 20 years ago are still used today. This includes corticosteroids (like prednisone) and beta-agonists (like albuterol). These still work fine for many people with COPD. But, today muscarinic antagonist medicine (like Spiriva) has made a comeback of sorts. Unlike asthma, COPD airway inflammation tends to respond better to muscarinic antagonists than beta-agonists (like albuterol). Now we know that. Other treatment strategies now available include machines like oxygen concentrators and BiPAP.

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Medicines today last longer

Back in the day, asthma and COPD inhalers only lasted 4-6 hours. They were generally short-acting. This includes rescue inhalers and controller inhalers. Today, most controller inhalers last 12-24 hours. This is a huge boon for the many people worldwide living with COPD. Back in the day, you had to take medicine 3-4 times a day to keep it in your system. This was necessary to control your COPD. Today, with medicines lasting longer, you only have to use them 1-2 times per day. This makes it much easier to stay compliant with your COPD treatment regimen.

Many medicinal options to choose from

If we go back just 20 years, there weren’t many medicinal options for COPD. In fact, most of the same medicines used to treat asthma were used to treat COPD. Now there are a variety of different options. There is also a large assortment of combination inhalers, and many of these are only approved for COPD. A good example here is Trelegy. Wow! Three medicines all in one inhaler. I think there is another three-medicine-combination inhaler in the pipeline. There are also many more combination inhalers to choose from. You can check then out in my list of COPD inhalers.

Many more medicinal options in the pipeline

Think about this for a second! Pause for effect. There are 36 medicines in the COPD pipeline. Can you believe that? One of these is a reformulation of older medicine called beclomethasone. This drug has been around since the 1960s. It is currently marketed as Qvar, which is patented so the price is elevated. I would imagine this new version will be a generic Qvar to help lower the price. Another one is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine. This would be another option for all those people with COPD who don’t respond so well to systemic corticosteroids. So, there are lots to get excited about.

Much better COPD guidelines

If I remember right, there were no COPD guidelines 20 years ago. There were some good ones for asthma. And I think they worked so well that COPD experts decided to create their own. This is great because it helps doctors know how best to treat their COPD patients. It directs them to the best treatment options.

COPD action plans

Again, the idea was borrowed from the asthma community. Asthma action plans are asthmatics work on with their doctors. They list all the medicines to take every day and when to take them. It also lists what actions to take when symptoms are experienced. The goal is to help asthmatics maintain good control of their asthma so they can avoid hospitals and do all the things they enjoy instead. And they were a HUGE success for asthmatics. So, this idea was borrowed by the COPD community. They added a novel idea of COPD Action Plans. These are now listed as part of the COPD guidelines.

There is so much to be thankful for

This list is only a start. There is so much to be thankful for. I could go on, although I've decided to let you finish this list. What are other things we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving season? Let us know in the comments below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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