1. Gordon, Ayla MD
  2. Young, Meilin MD
  3. Bihler, Eric DO
  4. Cheema, Tariq MD, FCCP, MMM


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is currently the fourth leading cause of death worldwide and will likely be the third most common cause by the end of 2020. It is felt to be caused by repetitive noxious stimuli to the lung, most commonly from smoking, with persistent symptoms of cough, wheeze, and shortness of breath. Most patients will have these baseline symptoms, with periodic flare-ups known as exacerbations. This article focuses on pharmacological therapy in a stable COPD patient. Pharmacological treatment of a stable COPD patient focuses on minimizing symptoms, improving exercise tolerance, and preventing exacerbations. Nonpharmacological management of stable COPD, smoking cessation, and treatment of exacerbations are covered in other sections.