Chronic Bronchitis Medical Treatment
Treatment of chronic bronchitis can differ depending on the suspected cause.
There is no cure for chronic bronchitis, and treatment is aimed at reducing
symptoms and improving lung function.
- Medications to help suppress the
cough or loosen and clear secretions may be helpful. If the patient has
severe coughing spells that cannot be controlled, a doctor may
prescribe prescription-strength cough suppressants. In some cases, only
these stronger cough suppressants can stop a vicious cycle of coughing which
leads to more irritation of the bronchial tubes, which in turn causes more
- Bronchodilator inhalers will help
open airways and decrease wheezing.
- Albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin) and/or ipratropium (Atrovent) nebulizer
treatments may be recommended.
- Corticosteroids may be prescribed
to decrease the inflammation in the airways. These may be used as inhaled
corticosteroids such as fluticasone (Flovent) and budesonide (Pulmicort), or
taken orally such as prednisone and methylprednisolone (Medrol).
- Though antibiotics play a limited
role in treating chronic bronchitis, they become necessary in some
- If the doctor suspects a
bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
- People with underlying chronic
lung problems may also need to be treated with antibiotics.
- In severe cases of chronic
bronchitis, home oxygen may be necessary.
- In rare cases, the patient may be
hospitalized if they experience breathing difficulty that doesn't respond to
treatment. This usually occurs because of a complication of chronic
bronchitis, or in individuals with other underlying lung problems.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/15/2014
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