The Knowledge Center

What to expect from long-term treatment.

Daily maintenance medicines are taken every day to help you breathe easier and manage your symptoms. Talk to your doctor about the tips below and other ways to help you stick with maintenance treatment, so you can keep breathing easier:

  • Make it part of your routine. Take your medicine at the same time each day—such as when you wake up, at a mealtime, or before bed
  • Ask a family member to remind you to take your medicine (or set an alarm)
  • Keep your medicine in a place where you'll remember it
  • Ask your pharmacist if they have a refill reminder program
  • Mark your refill dates on a calendar. Choose a date 1 week before your current refill runs out

If your doctor has not already prescribed a rescue inhaler, ask about adding this type of treatment to help you when breathing problems are more severe and require immediate relief.

Know what to expect with maintenance treatment.

  • Even if you don’t feel it working, taking your maintenance medication every day can help keep your airways open and your lungs feeling less constricted
  • Maintenance medicines shouldn’t be used in an emergency
  • Taking maintenance medicines every day may allow you to use rescue inhalers less often
  • Continue to take maintenance treatments every day—even when you are breathing better—to keep your airways open

Take note and talk to your doctor.

  • Pay attention to your symptoms: note increases in shortness of breath or intense coughing
  • Tell your doctor if you’re unable to perform your normal daily activities or if you are using your rescue inhaler more often than normal
  • If you experience a severe COPD flare-up—extreme shortness of breath or increased coughing—seek immediate medical help
  • Set goals for yourself. Take note of the little everyday activities you can do that you weren’t able to do before

Want to know more about:

Getting diagnosed? >

What to do after COPD diagnosis? >

How to manage COPD? >