Medications for Emphysema

Medications Used to Treat Emphysema

Depending on the severity of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may recommend a number of medications for treating emphysema, including:
 
  • Bronchodilators
  • Steroids
  • Flu shots
  • Pneumococcal vaccine.
     
Bronchodilators
Your doctor may recommend medications called bronchodilators as part of emphysema treatment. Bronchodilators work by relaxing the muscles around your airways. They help open your airways quickly and make breathing easier.
 
Bronchodilators can be either short-acting or long-acting. Short-acting bronchodilators last about four to six hours, and are used only when needed. Long-acting bronchodilators last about 12 hours or more and are used every day.
 
Most of these medications are inhaled, so they go directly into your lungs, where they are needed. There are many kinds of inhalers, and it is important to know how to use yours correctly.
 
If you have mild emphysema, your doctor may recommend that you use a short-acting bronchodilator as part of your treatment plan. You will then use the inhaler only when needed.
 
If you have moderate or severe emphysema, your doctor may recommend regular treatment with one or more inhaled bronchodilators. You may be told to use one long-acting bronchodilator. Some people may need to use a long-acting and a short-acting bronchodilator. This is called combination therapy.
 
Inhaled Glucocorticosteroids (Steroids)
COPD treatment for some people with moderate or severe emphysema involves inhaled steroids. These medication work to reduce airway inflammation. Your doctor may recommend that you try inhaled steroids for six weeks to three months to see if the medication is helping with your breathing problems.

Information on Emphysema

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