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What Are Combination Drugs?

What Kind of Medications Are There For COPD?

Combination drugs are medications that contain two different types of medication in the same inhaler or nebulizer solution. For example, an inhaled steroid may be combined with a long-acting beta-agonist. While each of these medications can be taken in separate inhalers, it is often more convenient for some people to take both drugs in a single inhaler. There is some evidence that combining medications may increase the widening of the airways more than by using either of the two drugs alone.

What kinds of combination drugs are there?
The are only a few types of combination medications currently available. The most common combination medications contain a combination of the following:

  • short-acting beta-agonist and short-acting anticholinergic;
  • long-acting beta-agonist and inhaled corticosteroid.

What problems (side-effects) should I watch for with combination drugs?
The types of side-effects that can occur depend on which medications are in the combination. The side-effects for the different types of medications are described in the specific sections for each of these medications.

How often and how much should I take?
Your healthcare provider will talk to you about the dosage of medication to take. These medications are fixed combinations of drugs and dosages, and it therefore important to take the medications as prescribed.

Listing of combined short-acting beta-agonists with anticholinergics

Generic name Brand name How it is given Dosage
albuterol
salbutamol
ipratopium
Combivent
DuoNeb
MDI
Liquid for nebulizer
2 puffs 4 times daily
2.5 mL 4 times daily
fenoterol
ipratopium
Berodual   1-2 puffs 4 times daily
4 mL as needed
Duovent Breath-actuated MDI 2 puffs 4 times daily, as needed

Listing of combined long-acting beta-agonists with inhaled steroids

Generic name Brand name How it is given Dosage
salmeterol
fluticasone
Advair/Seretide DPI
MDI
1 puff 2 times daily
1-2 puffs 2 times daily
formoterol
budesonide
Symbicort DPI 1-2 puffs 2 times daily