If you are hospitalized for complications of your COPD, you may be given antibiotics (and other medications intravenously), have your blood oxygen level measured, have chest-x rays taken and several blood tests. These tests will help to guide your healthcare provider in how best to treat you. Sometimes, despite all treatment, the lungs are unable to adequately take in oxygen. In this case you may require help to breathe. You may be given oxygen through a nasal cannula (tube in your nose), through a loose-fitting mask over your nose and mouth, through a tight fitting mask, such as those used in non-invasive ventilation, or through a tube down your trachea (windpipe) and connected to a ventilator.
Leukotriene modifiers have not been properly tested in COPD patients and, therefore, cannot be recommended for routine use at this time.
Many people with COPD experience depressive symptoms. Antidepressants may help some people with symptoms of depression. If you feel you need antidepressants, discuss this with your healthcare provider.
Herbal medicine, acupuncture and homeopathy have not been adequately tested in COPD patients and, therefore, cannot be recommended at this time.
Anti-oxidants include glutathione, selenium, and Vitamin C and E and medications with anti-oxidant properties (N-acetylcysteine). Of these, only N- acetylcysteine has been shown to reduce the number of Exacerbations or worsening of COPD. However, more research needs to be done to evaluate these benefits and side-effects before the routine use of anti-oxidants is recommended.