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Anti-Inflammatory Medications for COPD

What types of anti-inflammatory medications treat COPD?

Anti-inflammatory medications that treat COPD can be divided into the categories of inhaled steroids, oral steroids, and inhaled nonsteroids.

Inhaled corticosteroids

What do inhaled steroids do, and how are they supplied?

Inhaled steroids are prescribed to:

  • Prevent and reduce inflammation and swelling of the airways
  • Prevent shortness of breath and wheezing by decreasing the sensitivity of the airways to "irritants" and "allergens"

Inhaled steroid products include:

  • Beclomethasone dipropionate (Beclovent®, Vanceril®) QVAR® )
  • Fluticasione propionate (Flovent®)
  • Flunisolide (AeroBid®) AEROSPAN™ HFA)
  • Budesonide (Pulmicort®)
  • Mometasone (Asmanex®)
  • Ciclesonide (Alvesco®)

Inhaled steroids are available in metered dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers, or nebulized aerosols.

What are the potential side effects of inhaled steroids?

Potential side effects include:

  • Cough
  • Thrush (mouth infection)
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness

How and when are inhaled steroids taken? Are there special instructions?

  • If an inhaled steroid and bronchodilator are both prescribed, take the bronchodilator first.
  • Use inhaled steroids with a "spacer" or "holding chamber."
  • Rinse mouth and gargle with plain water after use to prevent side effects.
  • Do not use for quick relief.
  • These medications will not stop an attack that has already started.
  • Do not stop taking these medicines without talking to your doctor.

Oral steroids

What do oral steroids do, and how are they supplied?

Oral steroids are prescribed to:

  • Prevent and reduce inflammation and swelling of the airways
  • Prevent shortness of breath and wheezing by decreasing the sensitivity of the airways to "irritants" and "allergens"

Oral steroid products include:

  • Methylprednisolone (Medrol®)
  • Prednisolone (Prelone®) , Pediapred®)
  • Prednisone (Deltasone®) , Orasone®, Liquid Pred®)
  • Hydrocortisone (Cortef®)
  • Dexamethasone

Oral steroids are available as tablets or liquids.

What are the potential side effects of oral steroids?

  • Increased appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle weakness
  • Skin redness, acne
  • Sweating, swelling, or water retention
  • May raise blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Risk for infections with certain bugs

How and when are oral steroids taken? Are there special instructions?

  • Take with food or milk.
  • Do not stop taking these medicines without talking to your doctor.

Inhaled nonsteroids

What do inhaled nonsteroids do, and how are they supplied?

Inhaled nonsteroids are prescribed to prevent and reduce inflammation and swelling of the airways caused by allergies.

Inhaled nonsteroids include:

  • Cromolyn sodium (Intal®)
  • Nedocromil sodium (Tilade®)

Intal is available as a metered dose inhaler and nebulizer or aerosol solution. Tilade is available as a metered dose inhaler.

What are the potential side effects of inhaled nonsteroids?

Side effects of inhaled nonsteroids may include:

  • Bad taste in mouth
  • Thrush
  • Cough, dry throat
  • Nausea

How and when are inhaled nonsteroids taken? Are there special instructions?

  • Do not use for quick relief.
  • These medications must be used routinely to control symptoms.
  • If prescribed for use before contact with "allergen" or before exercise, use 10 to 60 minutes ahead of time.

Note: For all of these medicines, the side effects listed are the most common. Always contact your health care provider if you have questions about your personal situation.

References:

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 12/31/2011…#14277


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