COPD – Inhalers

COPD – Inhalers


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COPD – Inhalers

COPD patients are given an inhaler to deal with breathing difficulties. The GP or specialist nurse will train the person on how to administer medicine when using an inhaler. There are a number of different inhalers used to treat COPD. These are  

  • Short acting bronchodilator inhalers
  • long acting bronchodilator inhalers
  • steroid inhalers

Let’s begin with short acting bronchodilator inhalers. Bronchodilators work to make it easier for COPD  patients to breath more freely. They achieve this by relaxing and# widening the airway passages. There are two types of short acting bronchodilator inhalers. The first are referred to as beta 2 agonist inhalers, for example salbutamol, the second type are referred to as antimuscarinic inhalers, for example ipratropium. These types of inhalers are used whenever a COPD patient feels breathless where there is a cap of maximum 4 doses a day.

The second group of long acting bronchodilating inhalers. These are prescribed to COPD patients that have frequent symptoms during the day so the long acting inhaler may be more suitable that short acting bronchodilating inhalers. These long acting bronchodilating inhalers work in a similar way to the short acting ‘cousins’ except that they last much longer where one dose should last for at least 12 hours

There are two type of long acting bronchodilator inhalers these are beta 2 agonist inhalers that include salmeterol and others. The other group are the antimuscarinic inhalers.

An example of these is glycopyronium.

There are newer inhalers that combine long acting beta 2 agonists and antimuscarinic medicines the third group are steroid inhalers. These are prescribed to COPD patients that experience regular flare ups or exacerbations despite taking long acting inhalers.

Steroid inhalers contain medicines called corticosteroids that can dampen down the swelling or inflammation of the airways. Corticosteroids form part of a combinations inhaler that contains a long acting medicine that I have previously discussed.