Do I need to be on medication for COPD

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I'm 71 and quit smoking four years ago. I get a bit short of breath going up stairs but quickly recover. Otherwise, the only time I gasp for breath is when I'm pushing a lawn mower. I asked my primary care for a spirometry test which showed moderately severe lung restriction. (FVC 56 percent of predicted; FEV1 60 percent of predicted.) He prescribed Spiriva, which after a week has given me a sore throat and didn't seem to make much difference otherwise.

Question: Do I need to be on medication at all? I function quite well and do a half-hour on the treadmill and half hour on weights five days a week. And if I replace Spiriva with something else, will I then be dependent on it for the rest of my life? If meds don't stop the progression of COPD, I wonder if I should just wait until I have trouble breathing regularly. What think?

 

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  • Posted

    Firstly well done for giving up smoking.

    This disease will not progress further now that you have stopped smoking.

    Spiriva is purely symptomatic, it does not reverse the disease. So if its not making your breathing easier, you dont need to use it. 

    All other inhalers, even steroid ones also are purely symptomatic. None of them reverse the disease. Others might help your symptoms more than spiriva, so you may still want to consider trying them.

    Your spirometry isn’t brilliant but its not horrendous.

    Have you looked into pulmonary rehabilitation classes/workshops near you. This is the one thing which can actually make some proper difference to the disease. 

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    • Posted

      Thank you Ben for taking the time to respond. That's the information I was looking for, and I've asked my primary doc to refer me to a pulmonologist. Question about one thing you wrote: that the COPD will not get worse since I quit smoking. I hope that's true but everything I read is that COPD does not improve, and only gets worse over time. ???

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  • Posted

    I tried spiriva and didn't notice any improvement. One thing the doctors never seem to advise is to rinse your mouth after every use of any inhaler otherwise you will suffer from flush. these meds are intended for your lungs not your mouth.Most doctors have free samples of various inhalers I would ask to try some of those and see if they help. Personally I have used Spiriva and Anoro with good results although I developed and allergy to Spiriva after a while. Albuterol is also helpful and much less expensive than Spiriva and Anoro.

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    • Posted

      No, the doctor did not tell me to rinse my mouth after use. I hope that's why today, I have a sore throat and don't feel particularly well. Something else: due to its cost combined with my other meds, Spiriva will put me in the gap for the last four months of next year costing me a bunch of money. So I asked my primary if I could instead have a prescription for Albuterol, which is much less expensive. He replied that Albuterol is for asthma and he declined to prescribe it but looks to me like it's also for COPD. ?? Thanks!

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    • Posted

      Sorry should have been thrush not flush. Been using albuterol for over a year now for COPD time to see a specialist.
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  • Posted

    Hi Ted i was told it will still progress so not sure why some think it wont. But i ave had an inhaler given to me but never use it because i don't think i need to so i would stay off anything unless you really need help.

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