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Pharmacological Treatment of COPD


Dr. B.B. Mathur

Q.1 What are the main aims of the Treatment?                                             

Ans. Main aims are :

 1. To relieve symptoms

2. To improve exercise tolerance

3. To Improve Health status and quality of life.

4. To prevent disease progression.

5. To prevent and treat acute attacks.

6. To reduce deaths from COPD.

Q.2 What are the ways in which medications can be given to the patient? 

Ans. Following are the three main ways in which medication can be given –
1. Oral route –

a. in this method drugs are given by mouth in the form of tablet, capsule or Syrup.

b. Drugs have to be given in larger doses

c. Cause more side effects

 d. Slower onset of action.

2. Inhalational route –

a. In this method drugs are inhaled with the breath to reach the lungs with the help of special pumps.

b. This is the most effective and the best way of giving medicine.

c. Smaller doses are required.

d. Minimal side effects.

e. Prompt onset of action.

3. Intravenous route –

a. In this method drugs are injected in to the blood.

b. Useful for seriously ill patients and unconscious patients.

Q. 3 What are the commonly used medications?                                                      

Ans. Bronchodilators – These drugs help the patients by dialating the narrowed breathing tubes in the lungs.
1. Short acting – Action of these drugs lasts for short period (Four to Six hour).

a. Used as and when required for immediate symptom relief.

 b. Not recommended for long term use. Eg.- Salbutamol, Terbutaline, Ipratropium,

2. Long acting – Action lasts for 12 Hours or more –

 a. Used for maintenance of symptom free status.

b. Recommended for long term use. Eg. Formoterol, Salmeterol, Indacaterol, Tiotropium Steroids – used in combination with long acting drugs for management of severe COPD and during exacerbations. Inhalational – Beclomethasone, Fluticasone, Budesonide Oral – Prednisolone, Methyle Prednisolone, Other Drugs – Methyle xanthines, Mucolytics

Q. 4 What is the role of Oxygen treatment                                                                          

Ans. Long term oxygen treatment in patients with severe COPD is known to prolong survival and reduce morbidity and mortality.

Q.5 How long Oxygen should be given?                                                      

Ans. Oxygen should be given for >15 hours per day.

Q.6 Is it possible to give oxygen at home                                                     

Ans. Yes – oxygen can be given at home with the help of oxygen cylinder and oxygen concentrator, through oxygen flow meter by nasal mask or cannula.

        Author: Dr. B.B. Mathur,
M.D. (Tuberculosis & Respiratory diseases)

Professor & Head, Deptt. of Pulmonary Medicine.
S.P. Medical College, Bikaner
Postal address: 3/7, Medical College Campus, Bikaner–334003
Telephone : R- 0151–2528789, O-0151–2226333, Mo 9414138689
Email id : drmathurbb@yahoo.co.in
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