The treatment regimens for patients with COPD are undergoing a shakeup.  About 15 years ago an inhaled combination product for COPD was introduced.  It contained a bronchodilator and a corticosteroid.  It only needed to be taken twice a day.  The twice a day dosing was much more convenient for the patient.  It also came in a new and easy-to-use dispenser that was activated when the patient took in a breath.  The medication combo was shown to improve airflow and reduce flare-ups of COPD. It was occasionally coupled with another bronchodilator taken once a day.  This combination was usually reserved for the most severely affected patients.

Recently, new studies have shown that the better combination to improve airflow is really the combination of the two bronchodilators without the steroid.  Pharmaceutical houses began making combinations which included only these two bronchodilators.  The duel bronchodilator combination has only been available for several years.  Now comes studies that say the 3 drug combination is better after all, and it is being placed in one inhaler for ease of use.  I am also told it will be taken just once a day.  This product will soon be on the pharmacy shelves and the patients with severe COPD will be the first candidates for use.  However, the other combinations are still available and will certainly be useful for patients with moderate or mild disease.  No official guidelines have been put forward.

Some of you reading this may be asked to change your current inhaler.