Medications for COPD do not cure COPD, they improve your symptoms.

Take your medicines exactly as prescribed: that means the right medicine at the right time! Set up a system that works best for you and the people who help care for you.

  1. Make a medicine chart showing what you take and when.
  2. Set an alarm to ring when it's time for your medicine. A cell phone alarm can be a great reminder.
  3. Use a weekly pill box that has sections for each day and different times of the day.
  4. Ask a friend or family member to help you organize your "system."
  5. Time your medicine schedule with your routine habits, such as before or after certain meals or when you brush your teeth in the morning or evening.
  6. Always keep a day of pills with you so that if you are away from home unexpectedly, you'll be able to stick to your medication schedule.
  7. When traveling, always keep your medications with you in your carry-on bag, and keep copies of prescriptions for your medications.
  8. Rinse your mouth with water immediately after using a steroid inhaler to prevent thrush, a yeast infection of the throat.

If you are having problems controlling your symptoms, are uncertain of the correct way to take your medicine, or experiencing annoying side effects, talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team. They can adjust your medicines to solve these problems.

Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel.

Page last updated: November 17, 2022

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