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COPD Solutions Center

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Antibiotics May Help COPD

If you have certain symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), antibiotics may help. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease has updated the COPD treatment guidelines on antibiotics. The guidelines now recommend that antibiotics be used to treat worsening COPD caused by a bacterial infection.

These are instances when antibiotics should be prescribed:

  • When a patient's COPD worsens and the person has these three symptoms: increased dyspnea (difficulty breathing), an increase in the amount of sputum (mucus), and an increase of infected sputum (pus). Infected pus is usually noted by a change in the color of the sputum to yellow, green, or brown.

  • When a patient has two of the above symptoms and an increase in infected sputum is one of those symptoms

  • When a patient's COPD worsens so that mechanical ventilation is needed

It is important to see your health care provider early for an antibiotic when you have the symptoms listed above. Likewise, an antibiotic may not be needed when you have just a simple cold.

 

 

Online Resources

American Academy of Family Physicians  http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0815/p603.html
Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Diseases  http://www.goldcopd.com/Guidelineitem.asp?l1=2&l2=1&intId=1662
Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Diseases  http://www.goldcopd.org/Guidelineitem.asp?l1=2&l2=1&intId=2003q
Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease  http://www.goldcopd.org/Guidelines/guideline-global-strategy-for-diagnosis%2c-management%2c-and-prevention-of-copd-%282008-edition%29.html
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Copd/Copd_LivingWith.html

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