The Medical Letter recently published guidelines for treating COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease):
- For all COPD patients – Stop smoking.
- Patients with mild disease should use a short-acting bronchodilator inhaler as needed: either albuterol (beta agent), or ipatropium (muscarinic agent), or a combination of both (combivent).
- Patients with moderate disease should use regular inhaler treatments of a long-acting broncho-dilator – either a beta, muscarinic or combination agent.
- Patients with severe disease should add a daily inhaled steroid to step 3 and consider oxygen therapy.
- Pulmonary rehab is a vital therapy for all patients with COPD.