Medications for Pulmonary Patients

Most people with chronic lung disease take several medications to help relieve daily symptoms.  Your doctor will help find the best medications for you and your condition. It is important to remember that even if you are feeling well, you should not skip any dosages.


These medications help to relax and open your airways, making it easier to breathe. They can be short-acting, or long-acting. Most of the time, these drugs are inhaled via an inhaler or nebulizer, but sometimes you can take them in pill form.

Short-Acting (SABA) Albuterol ProAir, Proventil, Ventolin, AccuNebXopenexMaxair   Known as “rescue” inhalers or “quick relief” Long-Acting (LABA) Advair, Dulera, SymbicortForadilArcapta NeohalerSereventPerforomist   Used to provide control on a daily basis
Anticholingerics AtroventSpirivaTudorza Pressair   Can also protect from airway spasms Methylxanthines Elixophyllin, Theo-24     May help increase the strength of the diaphragm or people with nighttime symptoms


These medications help to reduce inflammation, swelling, and mucus in the airways. Often times, these medications are used when symptoms rapidly get worse.

QVAR, Pulmicort Flexhaler, Aerospan, FloventMedrol, Prednisone  

PDE-4 Inhibitors

This medication helps reduce the number of flare-ups and worsening symptoms (cough, increased mucus, shortness of breath) due to the bronchitis form of COPD.


Combination Medications

These medications combine the effects of two different types of medications into the same inhaler or nebulizer solution. There is some evidence that combining medications may increase their effects over the individual medications.

Combivent, Advair, Symbicort, DuoNeb, Dulera, Breo Ellipta  

Know the Medications You’re Taking

You should know details about your medications to help you take them safely and correctly.

Questions to Ask

  • What is the medication’s name? (Find out the brand name and generic form)
  • Why am I taking this? What does it do?
  • How often should I take this? What time of day should I take it?
  • How much of the medication should I take? (What is my dosage?)
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • How long should I keep taking this?

Many of these questions can be answered by your pharmacist or your doctor. The better you understand your medications, the easier it is to remember to take them correctly.


Take all of your medications as prescribed by your doctor.

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