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608 Posts

Posted - Jan 09 2007 :  5:53:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Starts out
"Breathlessness, cough, mucus, and fatigue are all symptoms of COPD.
Medications cannot cure COPD - but they can help relieve these symptoms.
When your symptoms are under control, you'll feel better.
Different types of medications treat different symptoms."

There are many types of Meds out there that were originally developed for Asthma but they have found useful for COPD as well.

Generally when we first find out we have COPD we are in the middle of a bad infection of one sort or another. They tend to throw everything at is that they have to stabilize us.

They give us Bronchiodialators, of which there are two types, one is fast acting and the other is for maintenance. The two should not be confused because if you try taking a maintenance med as a rescue you may end up in big trouble!

Albuterol or Ventolin and Proventil are examples of short acting dilator's they are fast acting and often used as rescue meds.

Serevent and Foradil are 2 of the maintenance dialator's that work best when taken daily. You may not notice and improvement immediately from these but it shows over time.

Two other Bronchiodialators are Atrovent and Spiriva, again these are maintenance meds and should not be used for immediate relief. Spiriva was actually made for people with Emphysema so we now have a drug of our own!

Of course we all, well maybe not all heard of the dreaded Prednesone, it is classed as an anti-inflamatory. This can be used as both fast acting and maintenance depending on your dosage. This is a steroid and not in the same class as Motrin, Aleve and such, these are NSAID Non Steroidal anti inflammatory drugs.

The preventativew are our Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines. Keep in mind these do NOT prevent all the various types of Flu and Pneumonia but are developed for what the Scientist believe the strain will be for that season. But even if it won't prevent all strains, it will lesson many of the symptoms of all.

Then the brains that be decided to combine a couple of our meds in one inhaler, and gave us Advair which has Serevent a maintenance med and Fluticasone(flovent) which is an inhaled steroid.
We also have Combivent which combines your Albuterol and Atrovent.

Other inhaled Steroids are Fluticasone (Flovent) Azmacort, Aerobid, Pulmicort, Qvar and a new one called asmanex.

Oral steroids are your Prednisone and Medrol. Medrol is a synthetic Prednisone and some people do better with it then the prednisone. For more information on Prednisone check this web site out

Now we come to the Anti-biotics which seems like there are new ones every other week but the ones used most often for lung infections are, Avelox, Ceftin, Cipro, Levaquin, Tequin and Zithromax. Like I said this list is not complete but most of us recognize the names of these drugs.

Last but not least is Oxygen. Yes our O2 is considered a drug. You can not get it in medical form without a prescription. How do you know if you need O2, well the only sure way to know is to have a 6 min hall walk where you walk in circles or in my case squares attached to an Oximeter with someone timing and keeping track of your O2 Saturation at any given second. If at anytime during
your walk your sats drop below 89 they stop you and let them rise back up and then put you on O2 at 2lpm and you start walking again. The other way to know if you need O2 is by an ABG (arterial blood gas), I will not lie they can be painful but I have found if they are done in a clinical setting instead of an ER they are not near as bad! I have actually had one that didn't hurt at all she was finished before I knew she had started. My hubby would not let me adopt her <sigh>

A quick reminder here about our O2, it is prescribed and we should not change the settings without talking to our Dr about it first. Some Drs will tell you that you can raise it for heavy exertion or you can sit without it but make sure you put it back to what you normally use when these activities are over.

There are more meds out there I am sure but these are the ones that are most widely recognized for COPD.

COPD Support


3 Posts

Posted - Jan 10 2007 :  07:42:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the great info. We need to all be reminded from time to time
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608 Posts

Posted - Jan 13 2007 :  08:55:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Now that we looked closer at our medications, there are some guidelines for using them properly.

This is a Medication Checklist of info I received when I started Pulmonary Rehab. After going over it again for the umpteenth time these past years, I thought maybe it might be beneficial to all.

1. All medications should be clearly labeled! Every time you take medication, check to make sure you have the right one. - Check the dose to be sure you are taking the right amount. - Never increase the amount of medication because you think you need more. (This can lead to dangerous problems.) Call your doctor or nurse if you feel you need more medication. - Don't skip a dose. - Take all medications for the ordered length of time.

2. Don't take "over the counter" medications without asking your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. These medications may be harmful when taken with the medication your doctor has ordered for you.

3. Never take other people's medications or give yours to someone else.

4. Carry an identification which lists your diagnosis and all your medications. If you have to go to the hospital or see a new doctor or pharmacist, you can bring your identification list which shows all medications you are taking.

5. If you are taking any prescription medications, you should see your doctor regularly. Your doctor may need to change your medication or dosage depending upon his findings.

6. If your doctor orders a new medication, show your pharmacist a list of all your medications. This will insure that all your medications can be taken together safely.

7. Never start a medication that you had taken for a previous illness. Check with your doctor or nurse first.

8. Check the expiration date on all your medications. Get rid of all old medications and be sure that children or pets will not be able to find the discarded medications.

9. Keep all medications in a safe place, out of the reach of children. Keep all containers (bottles) tightly closed to prevent loss of strength. Medications are best stored in a dark, dry place (not in the bathroom).

10. Make out a schedule to remind you when to take your medications. If you need help, ask your doctor or nurse.

11. If you have a medication at home that has changed color, check with your pharmacist before taking it.

12. If you have your prescription refilled and it comes in a different color, ask the pharmacist about it.

13. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if there are any special instructions for taking each medication.

Hope this bit of info will help. Sometimes we need to review as we get so complacent and "just don't think". But, then again, maybe that is just me!

COPD Support
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608 Posts

Posted - Jan 13 2007 :  08:58:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It is a good idea to know for yourself what your own prescriptions interact adversely with. Here are different sites that can help you decide if the drugs you are taking are safe to take together.

Below I have linked to 5 different sites that can assist you in your search, check them out and see which one meets your needs.

With Medscape you type in your Drugs name and it will pop up with the different types of that drug. You then add the right one to the box on right and it will tell you if there are interactions between your meds.

With Health discovery you do basically the same thing. Select your meds and then click check for interactions. This includes many OTC drugs (over the counter)

Gives specific Herbs and what they interact with, I am sure this is not a complete list but it is a beginning.

Here is one more that will give you your prescriptions, OTC and herbal reactions.,4109,,00.html

And last but not least here is the site Cecil uses to keep track of his meds." target="_blank">

COPD Support
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4 Posts

Posted - Oct 14 2009 :  07:19:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
hi iam from india aged 62 a businessman . was diagnoised with COPD 15 months back . thanks carolyn your posts are really very informative
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1 Posts

Posted - Mar 30 2012 :  8:20:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
it was nice to review the meds since i'm having mine adjusted
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Senior Member

597 Posts

Posted - Apr 05 2012 :  10:17:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I, too, just want to say Thank You!
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42 Posts

Posted - Apr 29 2012 :  5:05:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
good post. had gotten lax on drug knowledge! should be posted from time to time. we need the repetition.
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4 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2013 :  6:41:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great Post Thank you !!!
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326 Posts

Posted - Feb 02 2014 :  12:19:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks so much for taking the time to write this. It is in simple format for us to understand. You answered one of my questions regarding ox level when walking and what is safe to continue number. Really appreciate your help.
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1 Posts

Posted - Oct 23 2020 :  3:28:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
An update on antibiotics. Levofloxin has been given a Black Box warning to be used only as a last resort. I had bi-lateral tendon tears one week after starting Levoquin.

Mucomyst (Acetylcysteine) 20mg is a nebulizer treatment for mucous retention. It has worked wonders on reducing my shortness of breath.


Edited by - marine220 on Sep 12 2021 9:15:20 PM
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