Which COPD Medications are Best for You?
Last updated: March 2020
When mom was diagnosed with COPD, us kids were clueless about what she was going to need. I started a list of her medications to get us started.
We wrote it all down and then broke it into categories to try and understand. It helped us all understand how to organize her meds and how to take them. Your doctor can help you know which COPD medications are best for you. They will offer a treatment that is to be used in strict compliance with their orders. Some drugs interact, and your medical provider, respiratory therapist, pulmonary doctor, or pharmacist all work together to create the formula that is best for you!
Which COPD medications are best for you?
Here are some bronchodilaters and inhalers to control symptoms:
Short-Acting Broncodilaters - These SABA's (short-acting inhaled beta-agonists) are used to quickly get your breath more easily. They also come in an inhaler or nebulizer. Mom kept one in her pocket or purse at all times for emergency use.
Long-Acting Bronchodilators - These LABAs (long-acting beta2 agonists) or LAMAs (long-acting muscarinic antagonists) are 2 types that mom used at different times. From the beginning, she was taking these once or twice a day to help keep her lungs open.
Combination and steroids
Combination Inhalers - Some inhalers are available to serve 2 purposes. For example, there are 2 long-acting bronchodilators in some medications. There are also combinations of corticosteroids and a long-acting bronchodilator. These combination inhalers are both LAMAs and LABAs.
Corticosteroids - Sometimes mom said her lungs felt "hot and heavy". The doctor said they were inflamed, and prescribed steroid inhalers at first.
When she was having severe problems, the doctor offered a drug to help “relax” her lungs so she could breathe more clearly. It was in pill form to be taken daily. It seemed to work somewhat like a bronchodilator. She went on it for a while and then had to take a break due to weight loss. She used it off and on with her doctor's guidance.
Powerful tools in your arsenal
Short-acting and long-acting bronchodilators, used in pill, inhaler, or nebulizer form are all powerful tools in your arsenal to help you breathe more easily with COPD. When you know which COPD medications are best for you, it helps you manage all the prescriptions. Your doctor can always explain what they are giving, and why. They may also offer to help you get financial assistance to pay for medication.
Your doctor will guide you
This may seem like a lot at first and can be a little scary. Soon you’ll know which COPD medications are best for you by heart. You will know which ones to take or use daily, and also which ones help when you need a deep breath right now. Mom got more and more relaxed with it over the years. Of course, she had an opinion about everything and was quick to call her medical provider when something didn’t work. If you need assistance understanding or paying for any medications, you can simply talk to your doctor or a Pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Program to get the help you need.
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