Exhale

The official blog of the Lung Institute.

5 Medications That Could Be Making Your COPD Worse

When you’re not feeling well, popping a pill is often the first line of defense. Got a headache? Take some aspirin or ibuprofen. Allergies bothering you? An antihistamine will likely help. Though medications like these may effectively relieve the symptoms they’ve been created to treat, sometimes they have unintended consequences. In the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) specifically, certain medications can actually make this condition worse. These include: 1. Opioids The reason opioids are on the list is because they can slow down the respiratory system—an effect called respiratory depression—making it even harder for someone with COPD to breathe. If taken in large enough doses, they can even result in coma or death. This risk is compounded even more when opiate-based drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine are combined with benzodiazepines. That’s why, as of August 31, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that these classes of medications contain boxed warnings, “the FDA’s strongest warning,” to educate doctors and patients of this increased risk. 2. Antihistamines People typically take antihistamines for allergies, but they may also be taken to help treat colds, motion sickness, vertigo, and even anxiety. However, whether prescription or over the counter, they too can also potentially depress the respiratory system, resulting in the same effect as opioid-based medicines. In fact, some researchers suggest that this effect on the respiratory system is so strong that antihistamines may actually contribute to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a condition in which a baby dies during his or her sleep for no apparent cause. 3. Diuretics With many doctors prescribing COPD patients a diuretic, this one may surprise you, but it made the list because of the fluids and electrolytes you lose when taking this type of drug, ultimately impacting your ability to breathe. That’s why some researchers suggest that, if you are taking a diuretic, your electrolyte levels should be closely monitored. A potassium supplement, or potassium-sparing agent is recommended too. 4. Beta Blockers Beta blockers can potentially make your COPD worse in two different ways. First, sometimes they produce bronchial spasms, aggravating this condition. Second, they might also directly interact with beta-agonists, a medication that many COPD patients are prescribed by their primary care physicians. 5. Antitussives When you have COPD, it’s important that you’re able to cough, helping you get rid of the secretions in your lungs. Antitussives block this by suppressing the cough, making it more difficult to take a good, deep breath. Because all of these types of medication can potentially interfere with your COPD, it is super important to discuss these (and all other medications) with your doctor before taking them—even if they are available over the counter or without a prescription. If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute offers a variety of adult stem cell treatment options. Contact us today at [phone] or fill out the form to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy, and find out what stem cell therapy could mean for you. Interested in our article on medications that may make your COPD worse? Share your thoughts and comments below.

When you’re not feeling well, popping a pill is often the first line of defense.

Got a headache? Take some aspirin or ibuprofen. Allergies bothering you? An antihistamine will likely help.

Though medications like these may effectively relieve the symptoms they’ve been created to treat, sometimes they have unintended consequences.

In the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) specifically, certain medications can actually make this condition worse.

These include:

  1. Opioids

The reason opioids are on the list is because they can slow down the respiratory system—an effect called respiratory depression—making it even harder for someone with COPD to breathe. If taken in large enough doses, they can even result in coma or death.

This risk is compounded even more when opiate-based drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine are combined with benzodiazepines. That’s why, as of August 31, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that these classes of medications contain boxed warnings, “the FDA’s strongest warning,” to educate doctors and patients of this increased risk.

  1. Antihistamines

People typically take antihistamines for allergies, but they may also be taken to help treat colds, motion sickness, vertigo, and even anxiety. However, whether prescription or over the counter, they too can also potentially depress the respiratory system, resulting in the same effect as opioid-based medicines.

In fact, some researchers suggest that this effect on the respiratory system is so strong that antihistamines may actually contribute to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a condition in which a baby dies during his or her sleep for no apparent cause.

  1. Diuretics

With many doctors prescribing COPD patients a diuretic, this one may surprise you, but it made the list because of the fluids and electrolytes you lose when taking this type of drug, ultimately impacting your ability to breathe.

That’s why some researchers suggest that, if you are taking a diuretic, your electrolyte levels should be closely monitored. A potassium supplement, or potassium-sparing agent is recommended too.

  1. Beta Blockers

5_Medications_That_Could_Be_Making_Your_COPD_Worse

Beta blockers can potentially make your COPD worse in two different ways. First, sometimes they produce bronchial spasms, aggravating this condition. Second, they might also directly interact with beta-agonists, a medication that many COPD patients are prescribed by their primary care physicians.

  1. Antitussives

When you have COPD, it’s important that you’re able to cough, helping you get rid of the secretions in your lungs. Antitussives block this by suppressing the cough, making it more difficult to take a good, deep breath.

Because all of these types of medication can potentially interfere with your COPD, it is super important to discuss these (and all other medications) with your doctor before taking them—even if they are available over the counter or without a prescription.

If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute offers a variety of cellular treatment options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 or fill out the form to see if you qualify for cellular therapy, and find out what cellular therapy could mean for you.

Interested in our article on medications that may make your COPD worse? Share your thoughts and comments below.

30 Comments

  1. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Walt:

    Thank you for your comment. We are very happy that you are working to slow the progression of your emphysema. We encourage anyone with a lung disease to find treatments that help them improve their quality of life. Keep up the good work.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular therapy for chronic lung diseases. We have a dedicated medical team who have a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. So, feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Chip:

    Thank you for your question. We use autologous cells and it has proven to have a very high success rate. We would suggest talking with one of our patient coordinators and arranging a consultation with one of our physicians so they may address your questions. We wish you well.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  3. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Daniel:

    Thank you for your question. Yes, we do have a payment plan available. You would have to talk with a patient coordinator to get the details.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  4. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Fay:

    Thank you for your comment. We would suggest you contact one of our patient coordinators to discuss exactly what information they should send you. It will help to learn a little bit more about you and specifically how you want to address your situation.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  5. Walt

    2 months ago

    I am on 2 liters of oxYgen. 24/7 for EMpHysema. attend pulmonary rehab twice weekly. I walk 3000-4000 sTeps daily. I go to UCLA every three months for breathing tests. I am on esbreit RX to slow progresion of fIbrosis. I also take venclexta for folicular lymphoma which is effective

  6. Fay Stevens

    2 months ago

    I have copd, please send me all the info you can. I have had chronic broncitus for 3 weeks, Before that I could at least walk from room to room, now I can’t. Is Chronic Broncitus ever going to get better or go away

  7. chip Spencer

    2 months ago

    Do you use adipose cells? If not, why not? I’ve been told that you get many more cells in fat rather than blood or bone marrow.

  8. daniel

    2 months ago

    is there a payment plan?

  9. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Kay:
    Thank you for your question. We have written a few articles about traveling with portable oxygen. Here is a list of three top rated ones. If you are planning air travel, we would suggest contacting the airline in advance to see if they have any rules and regulations.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular treatment, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with one of our patient coordinators. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  10. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Beverly:

    We are sorry about your COPD, but very happy to hear that you have taken it upon yourself to try and manage the disease. It is difficult for everyone to do that, but it is so great to hear from someone who took charge and is seeing benefits. Keep up the good work.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular treatment, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with one of our patient coordinators. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  11. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Sharon:

    Thank you for your question. We do not do lung volume reduction surgery. It is basically attempting to cut out a specific diseased portion of the lungs. Here is more information about it.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular treatment, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with one of our patient coordinators. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  12. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Tony: If you have specific questions, please contact one of our patient coordinators. Many of the blog articles we write are meant to help people find alternatives that may make them feel better. Lung diseases are progressive diseases and right now there are no cures for most of them, so it is difficult to provide answers to all topics.

    Unfortunately, insurances companies don’t cover this treatment. Keep in mind that it will take some time before the insurance companies see a financial benefit in their favor to decide to cover it. However, we are hopeful for this change in the near future. In the meantime, you can learn more about cellular treatment options and have your questions answered by one of our patient coordinators. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  13. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Dennis:

    We are hoping to have meetings with the VA to discuss covering our treatments. Right now there is nothing to report. Treatments at the VA right now are basically the traditional treatments prescribed by most doctors to treat symptoms not the progression.

    Our team has a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment, candidacy and cost. We’re happy to answer your questions. Feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with our dedicated medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  14. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Ken:

    Our team has a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment, candidacy and cost. You may want to discuss with your primary doctor or specialist with that question. Or, we’re happy to answer your questions. Feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with our dedicated medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  15. Ken Phillips

    2 months ago

    Thanks for the great INFORMATION, I have a question? I get Prolastin infusion Weekly and would like to know if STem cells Therapy would help me.

  16. Dennis Bachand

    2 months ago

    My Pulmonary Specialist at the vet. affairs, White river junction hospital knows about your treatments and he is open to it, “So my question still stands”. when if ever will the lung institute make the treatment available at vet. affairs hospitals so veterans who aren’t financially well off can be given the same opportunities to life as those who are well off !!!

  17. kay

    2 months ago

    What type of portable oxygen machine is good traveling that will last at least 3-4 hours for people with severe copd?

  18. Tony

    2 months ago

    i see all these questions but don’t see any answers. some the answers would be very helpful to me.

  19. Beverly Wyrick

    2 months ago

    After reading some of thEse comments I feel so bad for Those who are suffering. They are right the Dictors don’t care. I am 75 and after being diagnosed with COPD I took it upon myself to get off my butt and move around. I do beathing excercises and mIld MOVEMENT excercises for 20 minutes a day twice a day. There are dvds and books to help you. In addition I walk 5-6K steps a day. I wouldn’T advise to start any program without a Doctors aporoval. But I chose to help myself and It has made a huge difference in the quality Of my lIfe.

  20. Sharon Robinett

    2 months ago

    WHAT IS A LUNG VOLUME REDUCTION SURGERY. Does it really help?

  21. Lung Institute

    2 months ago

    Grace:

    Thank you for your message and question. We suggest you speak with your primary doctor or specialist regarding test results and what they mean. We are not in a position to make any determination like that.

    Our team has a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment, candidacy and cost. We’re happy to answer your questions. Feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with our dedicated medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  22. Grace

    2 months ago

    Can they tell just from a breathing test and diagnose you with emphysema
    I still have to go for a CT scan for my lungs which will be on March 2nd 2018

  23. Lung Institute

    3 months ago

    Mr. G:

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular therapy for chronic lung diseases. We have a dedicated medical team who have a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. So, feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  24. Mr g j mclay

    3 months ago

    i have three inhalers plus oxygen 20hours a day.I have no breath to do ANY keep fit.walking is very hard. No distance at all

  25. Lung Institute

    3 months ago

    Donnasue:

    Thank you for your comment. We are sorry to hear about your brother-in-law.

    Unfortunately, at this time, Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies don’t cover treatment. However, we’re hopeful that treatment will be covered in the near future.

    Keep in mind that it will take some time before the insurance companies see a financial benefit in their favor and then decide to cover it. We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular therapy for chronic lung diseases.

    We have a dedicated medical team who have a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. So, feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  26. Donnasue Nichols

    3 months ago

    Hello I just found your website.My brother n LAw has COPD.He was a smoker in past .He loves his CILDREN an especially HIS grandchildren an keeps them while parents work. but now because he can barely go to the Shower or do any walking He STAYES in bed. .He has 2 types of insurance.I DONT know what they cover.His wife has whatever WALMART OFFERS He also has medicare /caid .He is 67.He is a kind generous an good man an i hate seeing him SUFFER AN DOES HIS FAMILY.HE is on PREDISONE 10mg.He does a inhaler.I believe he has HBP an is on meds an takes 1 ZANAX to help sleep @nightm but other than that he was healthy.Send me what you can please.They also found 2 small LESSIONS on a lung.I read this is normal with COPD.Thank you so much

  27. Lung Institute

    3 months ago

    Denis:

    Thank you for your comment. Many doctors do not offer any information about treatments for lung disease beyond the traditional treatments that help someone manage their symptoms, but not treat the progression of the disease. We are glad our website offered you some new information. We want to provide lung disease sufferers with as many options as possible to help them with their disease.

    In the meantime, you can learn more about cellular treatment options and have your questions answered by one of our patient coordinators. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  28. mj

    3 months ago

    I have just found your website and I have found more information that I have had from my family doctor, I have mild copd and struggle some days are good some are not

  29. Lung Institute

    3 months ago

    Debra:

    We are sorry to hear about your condition. The best way to get information or have it sent to you is by giving us a call and speaking one-on-one with someone on our medical team over our secure phone line. We’re happy to answer your questions about cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  30. Debra Clayton

    3 months ago

    This is very important to me l was in the hospital four weeks and then rehab four weeks lwas so SICK.I have been on so.much mediican and long term PREdnisone,l need all the help I can get l have to go in the hospital every month for Inverveingto help me. Please send me all the information you can. Thank you.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.