Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Treatment

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung ailment that is typified by breathing difficulties, in addition to poor airflow. The chief symptoms of the disease encompass breathing problems and cough with phlegm. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive illness, which signifies that it characteristically gets worse with time. Smoking has been established to be the major cause of COPD although air pollution and genetics have a part to play. Although some smokers never get COPD, smoking for many years increases the possibility of a person developing the disease. Oral corticosteroids are recommended in the treatment of COPD.

Literature Review

The persistent progression of COPD is usually interposed by exacerbations, described medically as occurrences of increasing respiratory symptoms, especially dyspnoea, phlegm production, and coughing. Such exacerbations have a harmful influence on the quality of life of people with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease since they worsen the effect of the disease and may lead to prolonged hospitalization and death. The qualitative study by Wedzicha et al. (2017) is valuable to health professionals in the respiratory sector who are responsible for the treatment of COPD. Nevertheless, all caregivers, physicians, and stakeholders in the health professional can benefit from the information in the article.

In their research, Wedzicha et al. (2017) carried out extensive evidence synthesis, encompassing meta-analyses, to sum up, the available facts. In the study, the synthesis of evidence and formulation of recommendations was undertaken by a multidisciplinary Task Force of health professionals. Following the consideration of the equilibrium of desirable and objectionable outcomes, practicability, and suitability of numerous interventions, the results of the study showed that oral corticosteroids are effective in the treatment of COPD in hospitalized patients, as well as management of the disease at home.

The Task Force made several recommendations such as the effectiveness of corticosteroid therapy, use of antibiotics, and timely pulmonary rehabilitation in people with COPD exacerbation. Despite the use of a wide pool of studies, Wedzicha et al. (2017) failed to include a comprehensive review of the literature, which could have boosted the reliability of the research.

Severe exacerbations of COPD arise frequently as the disease advances with some necessitating hospitalization although most of them vary from mild to moderate and may be addressed in primary care. Similar to the findings by Wedzicha et al. (2017), Laue, Reierth, and Melbye (2015) established that systemic corticosteroids and antibiotics are helpful COPD treatment alternatives. Nonetheless, the efficacy of antibiotics varies from mild to modest and their usefulness remains contentious with their overutilization being associated with the occurrence of bacterial resistance, particularly in people with co-morbidities.

The objective of the study by Laue et al. (2015) was to discover criteria advocated in present COPD directives for the treatment of exacerbations and evaluation of the underlying evidence. In the research, randomized controlled trials depicted concerning the recommendations were assessed in the study design with the inclusion of 19 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease guidelines. The results of the study showed that the use of systemic corticosteroids is beneficial to any patient with exacerbations. Despite the lack of extensive review of the literature, the information presented in the article by Laue et al. (2015) is helpful both to medical specialists and patients with COPD.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease denotes a lung problem typified by breathing difficulties, over and above poor airflow. Smoking is a notable cause of COPD. Improper use of either corticosteroids or antibiotics ought to be avoided as an effective treatment of COPD necessitates careful patient appraisal.


Laue, J., Reierth, E., & Melbye, H. (2015). When should acute exacerbations of COPD be treated with systemic corticosteroids and antibiotics in primary care: A systematic review of current COPD guidelines. NPJ Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, 25, 1-8.

Wedzicha, J. A., Miravitlles, M., Hurst, J. R., Calverley, P. M., Albert, R. K., Anzueto, A.,… Krishnan, J. (2017). Management of COPD exacerbations: A European respiratory society/American thoracic society guideline. European Respiratory Journal, 49(3), 1-16.

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