COPD Drugs: List of Medications To Provide COPD Symptom Relief

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, generally referred to as COPD, is a chronic inflammatory lung disorder which occurs because of obstruction or damage in the airway passage and lungs. It can include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Common symptoms of COPD are cough, troubled breathing, wheezing, and chest tightness. Smoking is the prime cause of COPD, but sometimes this disease can also result from breathing in environmental toxins. The damage to the lungs and airways in COPD is permanent. No cure for COPD has yet been found. However, many medications are available which can help to reduce the symptoms of inflammation and open the airways to make breathing easier for COPD patients. Want to know which are the most effective COPD Drugs? List of Medications to Provide Symptom Relief in COPD are given below.

COPD Drugs: List Of Medications To Provide COPD Symptom Relief

COPD Drugs: List Of Medications To Provide COPD Symptom Relief

Short-Acting Bronchodilators for COPD Symptom Relief

Bronchodilators are one of the effective COPD drugs that help to open the airway passages for making breathing easier in COPD patients. The doctor can prescribe short-acting bronchodilators for quick relief or in an emergency situation, as required. Bronchodilator medications are taken using an inhaler or nebulizer to provide symptom relief in COPD. Some common short-acting bronchodilators are albuterol, ipratropium, and levalbuterol. Some side effects associated with short-acting bronchodilators are blurry vision, dry mouth, cough, tremors, and rapid heartbeat. These side effects of bronchodilators drugs generally go away over time. COPD patients, who have a heart condition, should consult a doctor before taking a short-acting bronchodilator.

Corticosteroids for COPD Symptom Relief

In COPD, the airways get inflamed and this inflammation makes it difficult for the patient to breathe. Corticosteroid is a kind of medication which reduces the COPD inflammation in the body, making it easier for air to flow in the lungs. Many types of corticosteroids medications are available today to relieve the symptoms of COPD. Some of them are inhalable and should be used daily as per the direction of the doctor for symptoms relief in COPD. Other corticosteroids are taken orally or injected, and are used only when COPD worsens suddenly. One of the most commonly prescribed corticosteroids for COPD is fluticasone. This COPD symptom relief drug comes in inhaler form. This corticosteroid drug should be used once or twice every day. Sore throat, headache and allergic reactions are few side effects of this corticosteroid drug.

Budesonide is another corticosteroid for COPD which comes as a powder, liquid or in inhaler. Thrush and cold are some side effects of this corticosteroid medication. Prednisolone is a corticosteroid used as emergency rescue treatment for COPD. This drug comes in the form of a pill, liquid or a shot. Its side effects include weight gain, muscle weakness, and upset stomach.

Methylxanthines for COPD Symptom Relief

First-line treatments, like fast-acting bronchodilators and corticosteroids, do not seem to work on their own for people with severe COPD. In such a situation, a drug called theophylline is prescribed along with a bronchodilator for COPD symptom relief. Theophylline acts as an anti-inflammatory drug, which helps to relax the muscles in the airway passages. This drug comes in both, pill and liquid form. Some side effects of theophylline are nausea, vomiting, sleep troubles and tremors.

Long-Acting Bronchodilators for COPD Symptom Relief

The medications which are used to treat COPD over a longer period of time are called long-acting bronchodilators. These medications for relief from symptoms of COPD are generally taken once or twice everyday using inhalers or nebulizers. Since these drugs act gradually to help ease breathing, they should not be used as rescue medication.

The common long-acting bronchodilators are aclidinium, formoterol, arformoterol, glycopyrrolate, indacaterol, salmeterol, olodaterol, umeclidinium, and tiotropium. General side effects associated with long-acting bronchodilators are dizziness, dry mouth, tremors, irritated or scratchy throat, and runny nose. More serious side effects include rapid heartbeat, blurry vision, and an allergic reaction with swelling or rash.

Combination Drugs for COPD Symptom Relief

Many COPD drugs come as combination medications to provide relief from COPD symptoms. These mainly consist of a combination of either two long-acting bronchodilators, or a long-acting bronchodilator and an inhaled corticosteroid. Combinations of two long-acting bronchodilators include glycopyrrolate and formoterol; umeclidinium and vilanterol; glycopyrrolate and indacaterol; and tiotropium and olodaterol. Combinations of an inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting bronchodilator are budesonide and formoterol; fluticasone and salmeterol; and fluticasone and vilanterol. Combination drugs are very effective in relieving the symptoms of COPD.

Roflumilast for COPD Symptom Relief

Roflumilast is a kind of drug known as phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor. Roflumilast comes in the form of a pill which should be taken once a day to relieve inflammation and improve air flow to the lungs in COPD. This COPD drug is prescribed along with a long-acting bronchodilator. Side effects of roflumilast are diarrhea, tremors, cramps, and weight loss. A person suffering from a liver problem must always inform their doctor about the same before taking this medication for COPD.


Different kinds of medications treat different symptoms and aspects of COPD. The doctor will prescribe medications, which would best treat their patient’s COPD symptoms. Patients should feel free to discuss and ask questions about their COPD treatment plan with the doctor.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 2, 2021

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