Treatment Options Increasing for COPD


Pat F. Bass III, MD, MS, MPH

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My patients frequently ask me if there are any new treatment options for COPD. Unfortunately, the development of new COPD treatments has not kept pace with an increasing worldwide disease burden of COPD; for many years, there were few alternatives to traditional treatments. However, recently, new treatments have become available, and doctors are also looking at newer uses for older treatments to treat those with COPD.

Traditional COPD Treatments

Traditional COPD treatment often consists of some combination of the following:

  • Short-acting bronchodilators (e.g. albuterol)
  • Short-acting anticholinergics (e.g. ipratropium)
  • Long-acting bronchodilators (e.g. salmeterol, formoterol, olodaterol)
  • Inhaled steroids (e.g. beclomethasone, budesonide, fluticasone)
  • Long-acting inhaled anticholinergic (e.g. tiotropium)

Many of these drugs are used together and are now often combined into a single inhaler. In addition to traditional and newer medications, quitting smoking, optimizing nutrition, and getting appropriate immunizations are other treatments that may improve your overall COPD health.

The key to managing COPD is planning. From meals to laundry to shopping, small adjustments can make living with COPD more manageable.

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