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Who should take inhaled long-acting beta-agonists to treat COPD?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Long-acting beta-agonists are sometimes prescribed for people with few, mild day-to-day symptoms and a low risk of flare-ups. But research has not shown that they work any better than short-acting beta agonists.

The combination of a long-acting beta-agonist and an inhaled corticosteroid is one of the preferred treatments for:

  • people with few, mild day-to-day symptoms but a high risk of flare-ups. Combining a long-acting beta-agonist with either a long-acting inhaled anticholinergic or roflumilast is an alternative.
  • people with severe or many day-to-day symptoms and a high risk of flare-ups. Other combinations with a long-acting beta-agonist are alternatives.

Long-acting beta-agonists are one of the preferred treatments for people with severe or many day-to-day symptoms but a low risk of flare-ups. Some of these people may need to add a long-acting inhaled anticholinergic.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.