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 coughing.
- 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 situations.
- 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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