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Diseases » COPD » Treatments
 

Treatments for COPD

Treatments for COPD:

The goal of treatment for COPD is to control symptoms to a degree that allows people with the disease to breathe easier and live as normally and actively as possible for as long as possible.

The key treatment and prevention for COPD is to quit smoking. It is also important to eliminate or minimize exposure to potential lung irritants that can lead to or worsen COPD. These include air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust. Following manufacturer's directions for the safe use of chemicals, including wearing appropriate masks, is vital.

COPD is also treated with medications, including bronchodilators and corticosteroids, which are inhaled into the lungs using a device called an inhaler. Bronchodilators help to relax and open up the lower airways in the lungs and corticosteroids reduce airway inflammation.

Moderate to severe COPD, which results in low levels of oxygen in your blood, may also be treated with oxygen therapy, in which extra oxygen is administered through nasal prongs or a mask. Supplemental oxygen can help relieve the shortness of breath and ensure that the vital organs, such as the heart and the brain, get enough oxygen. Concentrations of oxygen and the types of devices used vary depending on the severity of an individual's condition.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is another form of treatment. It can involve a medically supervised exercise program, disease management training, and nutritional and psychological counselling to help improve overall health and quality of life. There are also a variety of surgeries, including lung transplant that may be considered in severe cases.

It is also vital to prevent common diseases that can seriously complicate COPD and become life threatening. These include influenza and pneumonia, which may be prevented with vaccines or treated with antibiotics.

COPD treatment: There is no cure for COPD, and the permanent damage done to the airways in the lungs by smoke or other irritants is not reversible. With regular medical care and consistent patient compliance with treatments and lifestyle changes, the symptoms of COPD can be minimized and progression of the disease can be slowed. The treatment goal for people living with COPD is to control symptoms to a degree that allows them to feel better and live as normally and actively as possible for as long as possible and to sleep comfortably.

It is also vital to prevent common diseases that can seriously complicate COPD and become life threatening. These include influenza and pneumonia, which may be prevented with vaccines or treated with antibiotics, as appropriate to your case. In conjunction with your professional health care provider, you will develop an individualized treatment plan that best fits your type and severity of COPD and your life style. The most effect treatment plans include a multifaceted approach. This includes preventive care, which is vital in minimizing the symptoms and exacerbations (episodes of worsening) of COPD.

The key treatment and prevention for COPD is to quit smoking. Your health care provider can make suggestions and referrals to smoking cessation techniques and programs. It is also important to asses and eliminate or minimize exposure to potential lung irritants that can also result in the development of COPD. These include air pollution, chemical fumes, dust. Following manufacturer's directions for the safe use of chemicals, including wearing appropriate masks, is vital.

COPD is also treated with medications. After a complete evaluation, your health care provider will decide what medication or combination of medications will work best for you. Prescribed medications may include short-acting or long-acting bronchodilators that are breathed into the lungs directly taken using a device called an inhaler. Bronchodilators help to relax the lower airways in the lungs and open them up to let in more oxygen. Corticosteroids are another class of medications that can be inhaled. They work by reducing airway inflammation.

Moderate to severe COPD, which results in low levels of oxygen in your blood, may also be treated with oxygen therapy, in which extra oxygen (supplemental oxygen) is given for you to breathe through nasal prongs or a mask. Supplemental oxygen can help relieve the shortness of breath and ensure that the vital organs, such as the heart and the brain, get enough oxygen. Concentrations of oxygen and the types of devices used vary depending on the severity of your condition. Your individual condition will also dictate if you will need oxygen at all times or only during certain activities. For example, some people with COPD find they only need supplemental oxygen when there is a high ozone alert (a lot of pollution in the air/poor air quality). Other people may need supplemental oxygen when they travel to the mountains, because areas in high altitudes have less oxygen in the air. Other people with COPD may need supplemental oxygen when participating in activities or to help them sleep better.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is another form of treatment. It can involve a medically supervised exercise program, disease management training, and nutritional and psychological counseling to help improve overall health and quality of life. There are also a variety of surgeries, including lung transplant that may be considered in severe cases.

Treatment List for COPD

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for COPD includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

COPD: Is the Diagnosis Correct?

The first step in getting correct treatment is to get a correct diagnosis. Differential diagnosis list for COPD may include:

Hidden causes of COPD may be incorrectly diagnosed:

COPD: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers

Products, offers and promotion categories available for COPD:

Curable Types of COPD

Possibly curable types of COPD may include:

COPD: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

Drugs and Medications used to treat COPD:

Note:You must always seek professional medical advice about any prescription drug, OTC drug, medication, treatment or change in treatment plans.

Some of the different medications used in the treatment of COPD include:

  • Formoterol
  • Foradil Aerolizer
  • Ipratropium
  • Atrovent
  • Alti-Atrovent
  • Apo-Atrovent
  • Atrovent Nasal Spray
  • Combivent
  • Dom-Ipratropium
  • Ipratropium Novaplus
  • PMS-Ipratropium
  • Salmeterol
  • Advair
  • Advair Diskus
  • Aeromax
  • Serevent
  • Serevent Diskus
  • Theophylline
  • Accurbron
  • Acet-Am
  • A.E.A
  • Aerolate
  • Aminodrox-Forte
  • Apo-Oxtriphylline
  • Aquaphyllim
  • Asbron
  • Asmalix
  • Azpan
  • Brocomar
  • Bronchial Gelatin Capsule
  • Bronkaid Tablets
  • Bronkodyl
  • Bronkolixir
  • Bronkotabs
  • Constant-T
  • Duraphyl
  • Elixicon
  • Elixomin
  • Elixophyllin
  • For-Az-Ma
  • Isuprel Compound
  • Labid
  • Lanophyllin
  • Lixolin
  • Lodrane
  • Lodrane CR
  • Marax
  • Marax DF
  • Mudrane GG Elixir
  • Phedral
  • Phyllocontin
  • Physpan
  • PMS Theophylline
  • Primatene
  • Pulmophylline
  • Quadrinal
  • Quibron
  • Quibron Plus
  • Quibron-T Dividose
  • Quiobron-300
  • Quibron-T/SR
  • Respbid
  • Slo-Bid
  • Slo-Bid Gyrocaps
  • Slo-Phyllin
  • Slo-Phyllin GG
  • Slo-Phyllin Gyrocaps
  • Somophyllin
  • Somophyllin-12
  • Sustaire
  • Tedral
  • Tedral SA
  • T.E.H
  • T.E.P
  • Thalfed
  • Theobid Duracaps
  • Theo-Bronc
  • Theochron
  • Theoclear
  • Theoclear L.A
  • Theocord
  • Theo-Dur
  • Theo-Dur Sprinkle
  • Theolair
  • Theolair-SR
  • Theolate
  • Theolixir
  • Theomar
  • Theomax DF
  • Theon
  • Theophyl-SR
  • Theospan-SR
  • Theo-SR
  • Theo-Time
  • Theo-24
  • Theovent
  • Theox
  • Theozine
  • Therex
  • Uni-Dur
  • Uniphyl
  • Vitaphen
  • AccuNeb
  • Proventil
  • Ventolin
  • Ventolin HFA
  • Volmax
  • VoSpire ER
  • Airomir
  • Alti-Salbutamol
  • Apo-Salvent
  • Gen-Salbutamol
  • PMS-Salbutamol
  • Ratio-Inspra-Sal
  • Ratio-Salbutamol
  • Rhoxal-salbutamol
  • Salbu-2
  • Salbu-4
  • Ventolin Diskus
  • Salbulin Autohaler
  • Aminophylline
  • Drafilyn
  • Phyllocontin-350
  • Dyphylline
  • Dilor
  • Lufyllin
  • Oxeze Turbuhaler
  • Foradil
  • Oxis

Unlabeled Drugs and Medications to treat COPD:

Unlabelled alternative drug treatments for COPD include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Dihydrocodeinone
  • Allay
  • Alor 5/500
  • Anaplex
  • Anexsia
  • Anexsia 7.5
  • Anolor
  • Atuss
  • Azdone
  • Ban-Tuss-HC
  • Biohisdex DHC
  • Biohisdine DHC
  • Chemdal-HD
  • Codone
  • Detussin
  • DHC Plus
  • Dicoril
  • Dimetane Expectorant-DC
  • Endal-HD
  • Entuss-D
  • Histinex-HC
  • Histussin HC
  • Hycodan
  • Hycomine
  • Hycomine Compound
  • Hycomine Pediatric Syrup
  • Hycomine-S
  • Hycomine Syrup
  • Hycotuss Expectorant
  • Lorcet-HD
  • Lorcet Plus
  • Lortab
  • Lortab ASA
  • Medipain 5
  • Norcet 7
  • Novahistex DH
  • Novahistine DH
  • Polygesic
  • Protuss
  • Robidone
  • Ru-Tuss
  • T-Gesic
  • Triaminic Expectorant DH
  • Tussaminic Expectorant DH
  • Tussend
  • Tussend Expectorant
  • Tussionex
  • Tycolet
  • Vanex
  • Vicodin
  • Vicodin ES
  • Vicoprofen
  • Zydone
  • Methylprednisolone
  • A-Methapred
  • Depmedalone-40
  • Depmedalone-80
  • Depo-Medrol
  • Enpak Refill
  • Mar-Pred 40
  • Medrol
  • Medrol Acne Lotion
  • Medrol Enpak
  • Medrol Veriderm Cream
  • Meprolone
  • Neo-Medrol Acne Lotion
  • Neo-Medrol Veriderm
  • Rep-Pred 80
  • Solu-Medrol

Latest treatments for COPD:

The following are some of the latest treatments for COPD:

Hospital statistics for COPD:

These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and COPD:

  • 1.8% (229,725) of hospital episodes were for chronic lower respiratory diseases in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 72% of hospital consultations for chronic lower respiratory diseases required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 49% of hospital episodes for chronic lower respiratory diseases were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 51% of hospital episodes for chronic lower respiratory diseases were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • more hospital information...»

Hospitals & Medical Clinics: COPD

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to COPD:

Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »

Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to COPD, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Medical news summaries about treatments for COPD:

The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of COPD:

Discussion of treatments for COPD:

COPD: How Can Patients Cope Best: NHLBI (Excerpt)

Patients with COPD can help themselves in many ways. They can:

  • Stop smoking. Many programs are available to help smokers quit smoking and to stay off tobacco. Some programs are based on behavior modification techniques; others combine these methods with nicotine gum or nicotine patches as aids to help smokers gradually overcome their dependence on nicotine.

  • Avoid work-related exposures to dusts and fumes.

  • Avoid air pollution, including cigarette smoke, and curtail physical activities during air pollution alerts.

  • Refrain from intimate contact with people who have respiratory infections such as colds or the flu and get a one-time pneumonia vaccination (polyvalent pneumococcal vaccination) and yearly influenza shots.

  • Avoid excessive heat, cold, and very high altitudes. (Note: Commercial aircraft cruise at high altitudes and maintain a cabin pressure equal to that of an elevation of 5,000 to 10,000 feet. This can result in hypoxemia for some COPD patients. However, with supplemental oxygen, most COPD patients can travel on commercial airlines.)

  • Drink a lot of fluids. This is a good way to keep sputum loose so that it can be brought up by coughing.

  • Maintain good nutrition. Usually a high protein diet, taken as many small feedings, is recommended.

  • Consider "allergy shots." COPD patients often also have allergies or asthma which complicate COPD.
(Source: excerpt from COPD: How Can Patients Cope Best: NHLBI)

COPD Treatment: NHLBI (Excerpt)

If the patient and medical team develop and adhere to a program of complete respiratory care, disability can be minimized, acute episodes prevented, hospitalizations reduced, and some early deaths avoided. On the other hand, none of the therapies has been shown to slow the progression of the disease, and only oxygen therapy has been shown to increase the survival rate. (Source: excerpt from COPD Treatment: NHLBI)

COPD Treatment: NHLBI (Excerpt)

Home oxygen therapy can improve survival in patients with advanced COPD who have hypoxemia, low blood oxygen levels. This treatment can improve a patient's exercise tolerance and ability to perform on psychological tests which reflect different aspects of brain function and muscle coordination. Increasing the concentration of oxygen in blood also improves the function of the heart and prevents the development of cor pulmonale. Oxygen can also lessen sleeplessness, irritability, headaches, and the overproduction of red blood cells. Continuous oxygen therapy is recommended for patients with low oxygen levels at rest, during exercise, or while sleeping. Many oxygen sources are available for home use; these include tanks of compressed gaseous oxygen or liquid oxygen and devices that concentrate oxygen from room air. However, oxygen is expensive with the cost per patient running into several hundred dollars per month, depending on the type of system and on the locale.

Medications frequently prescribed for COPD patients include:

  • Bronchodilators help open narrowed airways. There are three main categories: sympathomimetics (isoproterenol, metaproterenol, terbutaline, albuterol) which can be inhaled, injected, or taken by mouth; parasympathomimetics (atropine, ipratropium bromide); and methylxanthines (theophylline and its derivatives) which can be given intravenously, orally, or rectally.

  • Corticosteroids or steroids (beclomethasone, dexamethasone, triamcinolone, flunisolide) lessen inflammation of the airway walls. They are sometimes used if airway obstruction cannot be kept under control with bronchodilators, and lung function is shown to improve on this therapy. Inhaled steroids given regularly may be of benefit in some patients and have few side effects.

  • Antibiotics (tetracycline, ampicillin, erythromycin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole combinations) fight infection. They are frequently given at the first sign of a respiratory infection such as increased sputum production with a change in color of sputum from clear to yellow or green.

  • Expectorants help loosen and expel mucus secretions from the airways.

  • Diuretics help the body excrete excess fluid. They are given as therapy to avoid excess water retention associated with right-heart failure. Patients taking diuretics are monitored carefully because dehydration must be avoided. These drugs also may cause potassium imbalances which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms.

  • Digitalis (usually in the form of digoxin) strengthens the force of the heartbeat. It is used very cautiously in patients who have COPD, especially if their blood oxygen tensions are low, because they are vulnerable to abnormal heart rhythms when taking this drug.

  • Other drugs sometimes taken by patients with COPD are tranquilizers, pain killers (meperidine, morphine, propoxyphene, etc.), cough suppressants (codeine, etc.), and sleeping pills (barbiturates, etc.). All these drugs depress breathing to some extent; they are avoided whenever possible and used only with great caution.

A number of combination drugs containing various assortments of sympathomimetics, methylxanthines, expectorants, and sedatives are marketed and widely advertised. These drugs are undesirable for COPD patients for several reasons. It is difficult to adjust the dose of methylxanthines without getting interfering side effects from the other ingredients. The sympathomimetic drug used in these preparations is ephedrine, a drug with many side effects and less bronchodilating effect than other drugs now available. The combination drugs often contain sedatives to combat the unpleasant side effects of ephedrine. They also contain expectorants which have not been proven to be effective for all patients and may have some side effects.

Bullectomy, or surgical removal of large air spaces called bullae that are filled with stagnant air, may be beneficial in selected patients. Recently, use of lasers to remove bullae has been suggested.

Lung transplantation has been successfully employed in some patients with end-stage COPD. In the hands of an experienced team, the 1-year survival in patients with transplanted lungs is over 70 percent.

Pulmonary rehabilitation programs, along with medical treatment, are useful in certain patients with COPD. The goals are to improve overall physical endurance and generally help to overcome the conditions which cause dyspnea and limit capacity for physical exercise and activities of daily living. General exercise training increases performance, maximum oxygen consumption, and overall sense of well-being. Administration of oxygen and nutritional supplements when necessary can improve respiratory muscle strength. Intermittent mechanical ventilatory support relieves dyspnea and rests respiratory muscles in selected patients. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is used as an adjunct to weaning from mechanical ventilation to minimize dyspnea during exercise. Relaxation techniques may also reduce the perception of ventilatory effort and dyspnea. Breathing exercises and breathing techniques, such as pursed lips breathing and relaxation, improve functional status.

Keeping air passages reasonably clear of secretions is difficult for patients with advanced COPD. Some commonly used methods for mobilizing and removing secretions are the following:

  • Postural bronchial drainage helps to remove secretions from the airways. The patient lies in prescribed positions that allow gravity to drain different parts of the lung. This is usually done after inhaling an aerosol. In the basic position, the patient lies on a bed with his chest and head over the side and his forearms resting on the floor.

  • Chest percussion or lightly clapping the chest and back, may help dislodge tenacious or copious secretions.

  • Controlled coughing techniques are taught to help the patient bring up secretions.

  • Bland aerosols, often made from solutions of salt or bicarbonate of soda, are inhaled. These aerosols thin and loosen secretions. Treatments usually last 10 to 15 minutes and are taken three or four times a day. Bronchodilators are sometimes added to the aerosols.
(Source: excerpt from COPD Treatment: NHLBI)

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