In some cases, steroid inhalers are used to reduce inflammation and make it easier to breathe. Examples include flunisolide, mometasone (Asmanex Twisthaler), triamcinolone, beclomethasone (Qvar), budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler, Symbicort) and fluticasone (Advair Diskus, Advair HFA, Flovent Diskus, Flovent HFA).

In severe cases of COPD, a phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitor, roflumilast (Daliresp) may be prescribed to decrease airway inflammation and relax the airways. Other medicines such as theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24) may also help reduce symptoms. You may be prescribed a combination of drugs for your condition, and your healthcare provider or pharmacist will advise you on their use.COPD can be made worse by chest infections, so if you have a fever or your phlegm becomes brown or green, you should see your doctor. A course of antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for an influenza vaccination every autumn. This will reduce the possibility of chest infections.

Self Help

  • Try to stop smoking completely and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who has a cold or a chest infection and wash your hands often.
  • If you think you have a chest infection, see your doctor.
  • Get an influenza vaccine every autumn.
  • Try to do some gentle exercise every day. Ask your doctor for advice.
  • Dry air can make you cough; make the air more moist with a humidifier or by placing a bowl of water on a window ledge.
  • Breathing through your mouth can make you dehydrated, so try to drink plenty of fluids such as water and fruit juices.
  • Try to eat little and often, for example, five small meals rather than three large ones. A full stomach after a large meal will make it more difficult for you to breathe.

Further information
American Lung Association: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/copd/resources/in-depth-resources.html

Last Reviewed: May 2013