Terbutaline for COPD

Terbutaline sulfate (Brethine®) is a beta-agonist receptor (sometimes just called a beta agonist) that is commonly used to help prevent asthma attacks. However, people with emphysema, a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can take terbutaline as well. The medication comes in tablet form and is typically taken by mouth three times a day.
When used for COPD, terbutaline works by decreasing the activity of mast cells in the lungs and by increasing the activity of beta receptors in the body. Both of these actions help more air to move into and out of the lungs, which makes breathing easier. Keep in mind, however, that terbutaline cannot cure COPD, and other treatments are often required.
(Click What Is Terbutaline Used For? to learn about how this medication works to treat asthma, why a rescue medication is still needed, and possible off-label indications.)
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