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10 Common COPD Inhalers

A List of the Most Popular COPD Inhalers


Updated April 09, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

COPD inhalers are commonplace in the treatment of COPD. But, understanding which-is-which and what-does-what can sometimes be confusing.

COPD inhalers can contain either a single medication or a combination of medications in one inhaler such as a bronchodilator, a corticosteroid, a combination of bronchodilators or a combination of bronchodilator and corticosteroid.

To follow is a list of the 10 most common COPD inhalers on the market today:

1. Advair

Advair is a combination of two medications -- fluticasone, a corticosteroid, and salmeterol, a long-acting, beta-agonist bronchodilator. Advair is used for maintenance treatment of COPD. Learn more about the different types of bronchodilators. Discover the pros and cons of corticosteroids as treatment for COPD.

2. Symbicort

Originally used for the treatment of asthma, Symbicort was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in February 2009, for maintenance treatment of COPD. Symbicort contains formotorol, a long-acting, beta-agonist bronchodilator, and budesonide, a corticosteroid. Read more about the FDA Approval of Symbicort for COPD.

3. Combivent Respimat

Combivent contains two bronchodilators -- albuterol (a beta agonist) and ipratropium, an anticholinergic. Combination bronchodilator inhalers like Combivent, may help increase the bronchodilator effect of the medications, with the same or fewer side effects. Learn more about anticholinergic bronchodilators.

4. Pulmicort

Pulmicort contains budesonide, a corticosteroid which helps reduce inflammation in the airways, making it easier to breathe. Pulmicort is used in maintenance treatment of COPD. Learn more about Pulmicort.

5. Spiriva

Used as maintenance treatment for COPD, Spiriva contains a medication called tiotropium, an anticholinergic bronchodilator. It opens and relaxes the airways, making it easier to breathe. Find out more about how Spiriva helps the COPD patient.

6. Proventil

Proventil is a rescue inhaler containing albuterol, a short-acting, beta-agonist bronchodilator which helps immediately relax the airways, making it easier to breathe. Proventil is often used for sudden episodes of shortness of breath related to bronchospasm in both asthma and COPD patients. Learn more about Proventil.

7. Atrovent

Atrovent contains ipratropium, an anticholinergic bronchodilator. It is used as maintenance treatment of COPD. Learn more about Atrovent.

8. Brovana

Brovana is a long-acting beta agonist indicated for long-term, maintenance treatment of bronchoconstriction in patients who have COPD, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It should be taken twice a day; in the morning and in the evening. Brovana is NOT a rescue inhaler, nor does it treat asthma. 


The ARCAPTA NEOHALER is the brand name for indacaterol inhalation, an ultra long-acting beta agonist bronchodilator. It comes in capsule form and is administered via a dry powder inhaler (DPI). It is indicated for once-daily, long-term maintenance treatment of airflow obstruction in COPD, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is NOT a rescue inhaler nor is it meant to treat asthma.



BREO ELLIPTA is a combination of two medications: fluticasone furoate, an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), and vilanterol, a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA). It is a once-daily, maintenance medication for the treatment of airflow obstruction in patients with COPD, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
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