Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) treatment regimes tend to overlap with each other. This treatment overlap aims towards relief from worsening of the symptoms in both the conditions. Bronchodilators form an important leg of treatment, wherein they act towards rescue and maintenance of respective conditions.

Coughing old man

The short-acting β2 agonists (SABA) and short-acting muscarinic antagonists (SAMA) bronchodilators find wide application. SABA provides relief from acute symptoms, as per the consensus guidelines. However, SABA's usage and requirement tends to sustain over a period of 2-3 days. This time period does not involve relief from acute symptomatic worsening in Asthma and COPD. Also, the possible side effects include cardiac tachyarrhythmias and hypokalemia. SAMA finds frequent usage for COPD rather than asthma. These tend to act on receptors present in airways and smooth muscle of bronchi, providing relief from blockage. Further, experimental studies have suggested the relative absence of any significant improvement in asthmatic patients taking a combination of SAMA and SABA. The conclusions were drawn with respect to the group using only SABA.

Asthma patients should preferably adhere to anti-inflammatory medications, which pose as cornerstone treatment. Simultaneously, research has also shown that SAMA at times proves to be effective in patients who smoke cigarettes. In such patients, the respective bronchodilator provides relief from bronchospasm. The respective bronchodilators are available under different generic names such as ipratropium, aclidinium, glycopyrrolate, albuterol sulfate and others.