COPD or Chronic Obstructive Disease is a chronic disease of lung inflammation that causes obstruction to airflow from the lungs. It is the third leading cause of death and the second cause of disability among people in the United States. The main cause of COPD is smoking but it can also develop due to exposure to fumes or gases, accumulated amounts of secondhand smoke and pollution, and the use of cooking fire without proper ventilation.
The two forms of COPD are Chronic Bronchitis which involves long-term coughing with mucus and Emphysema which involves damage to the lungs over a period of time but people with COPD are most likely to have both conditions. The most common symptoms include: shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, dry cough, coughing with sputum, wheezing, and chest tightness. It may also include other symptoms such as cyanosis or blue-colored lips and nail beds, lack of energy and weight loss, swollen ankles, knees, and legs and frequent respiratory infections. People with this disease are at risk for having lung cancer, heart disease and many other conditions.
COPD is treatable with proper management but can also get serious over time if left unattended. Its worsening condition is called exacerbations. To prevent this, you must protect yourself from germs by proper hand washing, avoiding people with flu and other airborne diseases, and covering your mouth when coughing. It is also important to stay healthy by getting enough rest, drinking more water and exercising. Ask your doctor about vaccines or medications to control or prevent its symptoms. Two of the medications used to relax muscles in the airway to prevent air obstruction are: Anoro Elipta and Spiriva.
Anoro Elipta is an inhalation powder which is a combination of umeclidinium (anticholinergic) and vilanterol (bronchodilator). It works by relaxing the airway muscles to improve breathing. It is used to prevent airway obstruction among people with COPD but can’t be used to treat asthma. The vilanterol in Anoro increases the risk of death among asthma patients but its effects among people with COPD are is still unknown. It is not a rescue medicine and does not work fast in case of bronchospasm.
Considerations before using this medicine should be noted such as allergies to umeclidinium, vilanterol or milk proteins. Talk to your doctor before taking this medicine and inform if you have heart disease, seizure, liver disease, glaucoma, diabetes, thyroid disorder, enlarged prostate, bladder obstruction or other urinary problems. This is only for use among COPD patients and not used to treat asthma.
Spiriva (tiotropium) is a bronchodilator which helps increases airflow to the lungs by relaxing the muscles in the airways. It is used to prevent narrowing of air passages to the lungs or bronchospasm in adults with COPD, bronchitis and emphysema. It is also used to treat asthma attacks in adults and children 6 years and over. Though it is not recommended to use by anyone younger than 18 years of age, consult and confirm with your doctor proper use of this medicine.
Spiriva may not work immediately with sudden flare-ups. Ask your doctor for a fast-acting inhalation medicine to treat bronchospasm attacks and inform if the medicine seem to not work or is no longer working.
The capsule is not taken by mouth, but used with a Handihaler device. Before use, inform the doctor you have narrow-angle glaucoma, or an enlarged prostate, or obstruction in the bladder. Spiriva is used to treat bronchospasm attacks and should not be used when the attack has already started.
Take the medications as prescribed and observe proper dosing, usage and storage of medicine. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of each medicine and always remember, in case of reactions when using any of this medicine or exacerbations of disease, consult your doctor or immediately rush to the hospital.
Generally, there are no common side effects in taking inhaled preparations because only very little medication gets absorbed in the bloodstream from the lungs. If it does occur, it only happens occasionally among elderly patients with symptoms such as drowsiness, blurred vision, dry mouth, heat intolerance, flushing, decreased sweating, difficulty urinating, abdominal cramping, constipation, rapid heartbeat, confusion, memory problems, and glaucoma. Side effects also increase when used with other medicines. Talk with your doctor before taking the medicine together. Avoid activities that are hazardous and require mental alertness. Do not stop taking the medication without doctor’s advice and inform your doctor other medicines you are taking including herbs and medicines.
This material is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be relied as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication or supplements.