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Bronchodilator Combination Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

[ Vol. 6 , Issue. 1 ]


Sanjay Sethi and Claudia Cote Pages 48-61 (14)


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, and its prevalence is rising worldwide. Bronchodilators remain the cornerstone of COPD treatment, especially inhaled β2-adrenergic receptor agonists and inhaled anticholinergics. Long-acting bronchodilators are considered more effective and convenient than short-acting bronchodilators for maintenance treatment in patients with moderate to very severe COPD. There are currently 3 long-acting inhaled bronchodilators available in the United States: the β2-adrenergic receptor agonists formoterol and salmeterol, and the anticholinergic, tiotropium. All 3 long-acting bronchodilators have been shown to be effective and well tolerated for the management of patients with stable COPD in clinical studies. The combination of β2-adrenergic receptor agonists and anticholinergics has been shown to provide superior bronchodilatory effect than either agent alone, possibly because of the different mechanisms of action of these agents. The current treatment guidelines recommend the use of one or more long-acting bronchodilators for patients with moderate to severe stable COPD who remain symptomatic with single-agent bronchodilator therapy. The objective of this article is to review clinical data on combined bronchodilator therapy with β2-adrenergic receptor agonists and anticholinergics in patients with COPD.


Anticholinergics, bronchodilator combination therapy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, long-acting β2-adrenergic receptor agonist, 2-adrenergic receptor, Single Agent Therapy, bronchodilator monotherapy, acetylcholine, tiotropium


VA Medical Research–151 3495 Bailey Ave., Buffalo, NY 14215, USA.

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