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Respiratory Disorders Pharmacotherapy Essay

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Updated: Jun 30th, 2021

Some respiratory disorders have similar symptoms that may be difficult to separate for a person without any clinical experience. Medical professionals should recognize that these symptoms may be a sign of a serious condition. For example, persistent cough with mucus may indicate chronic bronchitis, one of the chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) (Arcangelo, Peterson, Wilbur, & Reinhold, 2017). The treatment of this condition differs from that of the common cold because a person can only slow the progression of symptoms down or relieve them. To manage COPD, one should also make changes in other spheres of life – diet practices, physical exercise, and habits should be reviewed to create a better environment for COPD treatment. One of the patient factors that strongly affect COPD is behavior, smoking being one of the leading causes of the disease’s onset (Martinez et al., 2014). Drug therapy for COPD includes medications that limit acute exacerbations, slow development, and enhance the quality of life; it should be supported by changes in behavior and smoking cessation.

COPD Treatment

The management of chronic bronchitis is focused on helping a person to reduce cough, decrease bronchospasm, and have an easier time breathing overall. For this purpose, a selection of drugs can be used. The first line of treatment includes bronchodilators – these inhaled medications relax the airway muscles for short periods (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Another name for these drugs is beta2 agonists, and their primary function is to make breathing less difficult, thus making them useful before physical activities. Long-acting bronchodilators also exist – they can be utilized regularly if a patient requires breathing assistance regardless of his/her lifestyle.

The second line of treatment can add anticholinergics to the therapy. These drugs are inhaled by the patient, having a similar function to a bronchodilator (Woodruff, Agusti, Roche, Singh, & Martinez, 2015). However, they also stop the bronchial smooth muscle from contracting and limit mucus secretion processes. These medications can work for short and long periods, although they should not be used for acute episodes. If the mentioned above drugs do not work effectively, one can include theophyllines in the plan. It should be noted, that these medications have a high level of toxicity and are not the preferred strategy for patients (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Finally, some individuals may require additional antibiotics to treat infections, because other respiratory conditions may exacerbate COPD (Braido, Lavorini, Blasi, Baiardini, & Canonica, 2015).

Patient Factor

Patients’ behavior can significantly affect their development of respiratory disorders. Smoking, for instance, is considered to be one of the main causes of COPD, especially chronic bronchitis (Martinez et al., 2014). Thus, smoking cessation is necessary when the patient notices the symptoms of respiratory diseases. However, if a person chooses to continue smoking, his/her treatment may be influenced by this decision. The effects of prescribed drugs, which smooth muscles and clear the airways, will be negated by the fact that the person increases the probability of acute exacerbations (Woodruff et al., 2015). Smoking leads to airway inflammation and damage, decreasing the effectiveness of bronchodilators (Martinez et al., 2014). To reduce the negative side effects, a medical professional should encourage smoking cessation and present a patient with a plan for physical exercises and breathing techniques to repair the lungs.


Chronic bronchitis is not fully treatable, but a person can use drugs to relieve its symptoms and lead an active life. Beta2 agonists and anticholinergics are the main medications for COPD therapy – they act as bronchodilators, reducing spasms and increasing the airflow. Apart from medical treatment, people should also change their behavior as it affects their health outcomes significantly. They should stop or avoid smoking, the primary cause of COPD, and seek professional advice about physical activity and breathing exercises.


Arcangelo, V. P., Peterson, A. M., Wilbur, V., & Reinhold, J. A. (Eds.). (2017). Pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice: A practical approach (4th ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Braido, F., Lavorini, F., Blasi, F., Baiardini, I., & Canonica, G. W. (2015). Switching treatments in COPD: Implications for costs and treatment adherence. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 10, 2601-2608.

Martinez, C. H., Kim, V., Chen, Y., Kazerooni, E. A., Murray, S., Criner, G. J.,… Han, M. K. (2014). The clinical impact of non-obstructive chronic bronchitis in current and former smokers. Respiratory Medicine, 108(3), 491-499.

Woodruff, P. G., Agusti, A., Roche, N., Singh, D., & Martinez, F. J. (2015). Current concepts in targeting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease pharmacotherapy: Making progress towards personalised management. The Lancet, 385(9979), 1789-1798.

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