Other drug therapies


Theophylline plays only a small role in the treatment of chronic stable COPD now that safer, more effective drugs are available. Theophylline can be used for patients who have not adequately responded to inhaled agents or bronchodilators and who show symptomatic benefit from a trial of the drug. 


All patients with COPD should be given annual influenza vaccinations as this can reduce serious illness. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is also recommended for patients >65 years old.1


Alpha-1 antitrypsin augmentation therapy

This is only recommended for young patients with severe hereditary alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and established emphysema.1



There is no current evidence that antibiotics are useful in the treatment of COPD, other than for treating infectious exacerbations.1



  1. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD): Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of COPD. 2013. www.goldcopd.org

Chronic stable disease – non-drug therapy

Learn more about non-drug therapy for COPDGo

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