Treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

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Treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Powered By Docstoc
					Theophylline tablets                               Using Medication to
If you are not getting adequate relief from       manage exacerbations
the symptoms of COPD by correctly                      (flare-ups)
using your inhalers, your GP may
prescribe theophylline tablets.               Your GP may prescribe a short course
Theophylline causes the muscles of your       of antibiotics if you have a chest
airways to relax and open up, helping
you to breathe more easily. You will need
                                              infection. If you have very severe
                                              COPD, your GP, nurse or specialist           Treatment for
to give a blood sample to measure the
amount of theophylline in your blood
                                              may give you a steroid tablets because
                                              there is evidence that corticosteroids          Chronic
(usually annually) so that your GP can
check that you are receiving the right
                                              prevent flare-ups in people, with
                                              severe COPD.                                  Obstructive
amount to give you the most benefit and
reduce the likelihood of side-effects.        Steroid tablets may be prescribed as          Pulmonary
Mucolytic tablets or capsules
                                              a short course for one or two weeks
                                              if you have a bad flare-up. They work           Disease
Mucolytics e.g. carbocisteine, make the
mucus and phlegm in your throat thinner
                                              best if taken as the flare-up starts,
                                              so your GP may give you a stand-by              (COPD)
and easier to cough up. They are              course to keep at home.
especially beneficial for people with
moderate and severe COPD who have             Nebulisers
frequent or bad flare-ups.                    A nebuliser can be used for very
                                              severe cases of COPD. A fine mist
Oxygen                                        of medication is sprayed in liquid
You will be assessed a hospital clinic at     form, which means that a larger dose
an appropriate time to gauge if you will      of medicines can be taken at one time.
benefit from home oxygen.                     Before starting this treatment, your GP,
                                              nurse or specialist, will test to make
Influenza and Pneumococcal                    sure that the nebuliser is suitable for
vaccine                                       you. A spacer device may be used as
You should have an annual ‘flu-jab’ every     a good alternative.
autumn, as diseases such as influenza
can make your condition much worse.             This information is also available on
You should also have a one-off                  request in other formats by phoning
vaccination against the bacterium,                         01387 244366.                   Patient information
Pneumococcus, to avoid serious chest
                                              Produced by Prescribing Support Team
                                              June 2009                 Review June 2012
                                             Your GP/nurse may start you on a          For people with mild COPD symptoms,
         What is COPD?                       treatment, but how you respond varies     a bronchodilator inhaler used as
                                             from person to person. Treatment will     needed may be sufficient to relieve
COPD occurs as the result of permanent       be reviewed regularly and altered or      breathlessness. For other people, it
damage to the lungs, usually through         stopped depending on your response to     may be necessary to use one of each
smoking. Difficulty with breathing is the    any new inhaler or tablet. Other          (beta-2 agonist and anticholinergic)
main symptom. COPD can appear to be          treatments may then be considered.        regularly, four times a day. Your GP,
similar to asthma, but they are different.                                             nurse or specialist will advise you.
Treatment for COPD usually consists of
relieving the symptoms by using                                                        Long acting bronchodilator
inhaler(s) to make breathing easier.
                                             If you are prescribed an inhaler, it is   These work in a similar way to the
This leaflet explains the types of
                                             very important that you are able to use   short acting bronchodilators but
treatment which you are likely to receive
                                             it correctly. There are many different    each dose lasts for at least 12 hours.
and how to use them to your best
                                             types of inhaler available and your GP,   Your GP or nurse may suggest a
                                             nurse and pharmacist can all help you     4 – 12 week trial of any of these
                                             to master a good inhaler technique.       inhalers.
                                             Spacer devices e.g. Volumatic or          There are two types: -
                                             Aerochamber, may be given with            Beta-2 agonist inhalers (green)
                                             aerosol inhalers to help you use them     salmeterol, formoterol
                                             more easily. They also help to avoid
                                             side effects such as hoarseness or        Anticholinergic
                                             oral thrush.                              tiotropium

                                             Short-acting bronchodilator               Corticosteroid inhalers
                                             inhalers                                  If you have moderate or severe COPD
REMEMBER –                                   These deliver a small dose of medicine    and are not getting adequate relief from
Stopping smoking is the                      directly to your lungs, causing the       bronchodilators, your GP may suggest
most important thing you can                 muscles of your airways to relax and      a 4 – 12 week trial of a combination
                                                                                       inhaler, containing a long acting
do to prevent your condition                 open up (bronchodilate). They also
                                                                                       bronchodilator and corticosteroid
from becoming worse!                         prevent hyperinflation (over expansion)
                                             of your lungs. There are two types: -     inhaler (e.g. Seretide or Symbicort)
                                                                                       This will only be continued if
Ask your GP, Nurse or                        Beta-2 agonist inhalers (blue)            it helps your symptoms.
pharmacist for advice on                     salbutamol, terbutaline
stopping smoking.                            Anticholinergic inhalers