If you experience symptoms regularly throughout the day, a long-acting bronchodilator inhaler may be prescribed to keep your airways open. This kind of medicine also helps reduce the risk of flare-ups.
Long-acting bronchodilators last about 12–24 hours, so they are used once or twice a day.
There are two types of long-acting bronchodilator inhaler:
- long-acting beta-2 agonists (LABAs) such as indacaterol (Onbrez Breezhaler), salmeterol (Serevent Accuhaler) and formoterol (Oxis, Foradile)
- long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) such as tiotropium (Spiriva), glycopyronium (Seebri), umeclidinium (Incruse Ellipta ) and aclidinium (Bretaris Genuair).
If you have moderate COPD, you may be given either two separate inhalers or a combination of two different types of bronchodilators (a LABA plus a LAMA). These come as one inhaler in a fixed dose.
Some inhalers are indicated for the treatment of COPD but may not be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
These include Ultibro Breezhaler, Spiolto Respimat, Anoro Ellipta, and Brimica GenuAir.
If you have been prescribed a fixed-dose combination of medicines (a LABA plus a LAMA), you should stop taking any individual LABA or LAMA medicines you were using before.
If you have been prescribed a LAMA, you should stop taking any SAMA medicines you were using before.
Talk to your health professional about possible side effects such as shaky hands (tremors) and a rapid heartbeat.