Anti-Inflammatory Medication for COPD

Anti-inflammatory medication helps reduce and prevent inflammation inside the airways.  Inhaled corticosteroids and corticosteroid pills are two types of anti-inflammatory medications.


Inhaled Corticosteroids

Some people with COPD benefit from the use of inhaled steroids.  Inhaled steroids are used to open the airways by reducing inhlammation inside the airways. Inhaled steroids are often taken every day.  Remember to rinse your mouth and Use a spacer (if using an MDI) with inhaled steroids to reduce the risk of thrush. Thrush, a possible side effect, is a yeast infection causing a white patches in the back of the throat.

Inhaled corticosteroids include:

  • Asmanex® (mometasone)  
  • Flovent® (fluticasone)
  • Pulmicort® (budesonide)
  • QVAR® (beclomethasone)

Learn more about inhaled steroids.


Combination Long-Acting Bronchodilator and Anit-Inflammatory

These combination medications combine two medications that are used to manage COPD in one device, a long-acting bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory.  They are taken every 12 hours.

  • Common combination long-acting bronchodilator and anit-inflammatory medications include:
    • Advair® (Flovent® and Serevent®)
    • Symbicort® (Pulmicort® and Foradil®)


Corticosteroid Pills

Corticosteroid pills are used only in special circumstances, such as when your symptoms are getting worse or you need to be hospitalized. Long-term use of corticosteroid pills can result in serious side effects and are not recommended to treat COPD. Corticosteroid pills include:

  • Deltasone® (prednisone)
  • Medrol® (methylprednisolone)

Learn more about oral steroids.



This information has been approved by Russ Bowler, MD, PhD (June 2009).

Bookmark and Share

Sign Up for e-Newsletters

Enter your email address to receive health tips, recent research findings and news about National Jewish Health.