Pulmonary medications

Medications and You

Knowing which medication NOT TO TAKE is often as important as knowing which
TO TAKE when you have chronic ling disease.
There are many different medications on the market today that help you breathe
easier. Your doctor may already prescribe some of these for you. If so, the list of
medications included may help you understand why you are taking them, how they
works, and possible side effects.
You should always tell your doctor id you are taking other medications, especially
those listed below that should be used infer the direction of your doctor. This is
particularly true of narcotics, sleeping pills and tranquilizers.
Over the counter cold and sinus medications:
before you take the over the counter medications, you should discuss potential
problems with your pharmacist or physician. Read the labels carefully. For example,
products containing cough suppressants can be counter-productive to a respiratory
patient since they prevent coughing which clear the lungs!
Asthma: Individuals with Asthma might find that aspirin causes shortness of breath
and wheezing. if this occurs, discuss a substitute with your doctor.

Flu and Pneumonia vaccines_ Anyone with COPD is considered high risk This
includes those caring for patients with COPD.
Flu vaccine: given yearly
Pneumonia Vaccine:
given every 5-6 years, depending on your age and symptoms.
General medication guidelines:
• Take medications as prescribed. • Take those labeled "PRN" only when needed. • Storage: original container, away from heat, light, moisture and children. • Don't use over the counter medications without consulting your pharmacist or • Keep a written record of your medications, including vitamins, herbal and • Don't take medication prescribed for someone else! • Notify your physician if medications aren't working or you develop *If taking a variety of inhaled medications, always take quick acting one before the slow acting one. Albuterol remains the "rescue" drug with onset on action 1-5 minutes after inhalation. A good rule of thumb is to take the bronchodilators first and
steroids last. REMEMBER to rinse your mouth after al inhalers, especially steroids.

Pulmonary Medications

1. Theophylline- Theodor, Slo-bid, Theo-24

How they work-Bronchodilator that opens narrowed airways to allow
How to take-by mouth in a pill, capsule or liquid from.
Possible side effects- upset stomach, nausea, vomiting. Nervousness, restlessness,
hyperactivity. *Take with food if upset stomach is a problem. Blood levels are required periodically.* 2. Inhaled bronchodilators(beta Agonists)-Albuterol, Proventil, Ventolin,
Foradil, Serevent, Xopenex.

How they work- Bronchodilators that open narrowed airways to allow better
airflow. Specific time to bronchodilatation depends on the specific drug chosen. How to take them- inhaled directly into the airways by use of nebulizer, metered
Possible side effects- Increased heart rater, nervousness, restlessness, dryness of
mouth or throat. * Aerochamber (or proper delivery device) is used to enhance medication deposition in the airways and to decrease side effects.*
3. Inhaled bronchodilators (Anticholinergic)-Atrovent, Spiriva

How they work-Dilates the airway by prevention of airway contraction and
How to take them- Atrovent is inhaled directly into the airways by a metered
dose inhaler (use an aerochamber with inhaler) or nebulizer. Spiriva is used with handihaler device. Possible side effects- cough, hoarseness, sore mouth or throat

4. Oral steroids-Prednisone

How they work-steroids help to reduce inflammation of airways.
How to take them- may be taken in a pill or liquid form.
Possible side effects-cough, hoarseness, sore mouth or throat, stomach upset.

5. Inhaled steroids-Azmacort, Aerobid, Flovent, Pulmicort

How they work-steroids help to reduce inflammation in airways. They work
slowly; preventative or maintenance drug. How to take them-inhaled directly into the airways via metered dose inhaler with
aerochamber or appropriate delivery device. Possible side effects-cough, hoarseness, sore mouth or throat, lessened or

6. Other inflammatory medication-Intal (Cromolyn), Tilade
How they work
-Used to prevent asthmatic attacks.
How to take them-Inhaled directly into the airways via metered dose inhaler.
(Intal Spinhaler, roto caps) May also be nebulized.
Possible side effects-dry throat, bad taste, cough, nausea, nasal congestion,
7. Combination medications-combined medications from different drug classes.

8. Leukotriene Modifiers-Accolate, Singulair, Zyflo
How they work
-A new class of Asthma medications that work by
preventing swelling in the airways. It also prevents constriction in the airways.
How to take them-They can be taken in pill or liquid form. Accolate should be taken on an empty stomach.
Possible side effects-headache, dizziness, nausea.
9. Diuretics-Lasix (Furosemide), Bumex, Lozol, HCTZ
How they work
-rid the body of excess fluid by increasing the flow of urine.
This prevents excess fluid backing up into the lungs and making breathing difficult.
How to take them-by mouth in pill form. May be given IV in the hospital.
Possible side effects-frequent urination, excessive thirst, muscle weakness
10. Potassium supplements-Kdur, Slo-K, KCL

How they work-replace potassium lost with diuretics and corticosteroids.
How to take them-Tablet, capsule, liquid, IV
Possible side effects-upset stomach, nausea. With low levels-weakness, muscle
cramps. With high levels-confusion, muscle tightness, cold, tingling.

Source: http://www.cheshire-med.com/images/clinical_services/pulmonary_medications.pdf

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