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My mum has COPD caused by 50 years of smoking (she quit smoking a year ago). Right now the only inhaler she uses is one puff on a rescue inhaler when she is short of breath, usually when she climbs into bed at night. She has a lot of fluid in her chest and coughs this up all the time, she sometimes throws up because she coughs so hard. We are seeing her doctor at the end of October for a flu shot, does anyone know if there is any inhaler or medication that will reduce the amount of fluid she produces in her lungs so she is not coughing so much?

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My mom is in nursing home with COPD among other issues. She just started lasix1 week ago but it is helping. An inhaler does her no good because ahe cannot take a deep enough breath to get the med where it is needed. A nebulizer 3 times a day is much more helpful. Used with a mask she takes a 20 minute nap while breathing in the medicated steam. Very low doses of morphine almost instantly relax the esophogus. And her oxygen stats are always good because of compensating with pursed breathing. Once doctor said she can have oxygen on demand it has helped a lot. She has it about 20 hours a day. She has mild dementia and the oxygen has helped to make her brain a little clearer.
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psteigman-- dexamethasone is an oral steroid that is absorbed throughout the body and does cause weight gain, Alvesco for asthma is a corticosteroid that is inhaled by metered doses and is absorbed by the lungs only. I have not gained any weight from Alvesco. It is usually only oral steroids that round the face and put the weight on. I think you are correct about the corticosteroid suppressing the immune system, however it is the safest treatment for asthma which I was diagnosed as having this Spring. I started on the Alvesco which prevents wheezing and asthma attacks and have not had an attack since I took my first puff. I have never had to use the rescue inhaler.
My heart goes out to your daughter, I am about 40lbs overweight and have just started a weight loss plan combined with lots of walking. I feel really bad for people who have gained large amounts of weight due to medications. I wonder if there is an alternative for her.
I appreciate your advice and comments- thank-you!
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A word of caution with the steroids, they tend to suppress the immune system, which makes you more susceptible to flu, and less likely to build immunity after a flu shot. They also cause fluid retention; my daughter gained 100 lbs on dexamethasone in only 6 months.
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Good luck and let us know how it goes. I know it's got to be tough to watch your mom having coughing spells to the point of vomiting. I have a friend who's mom died a very difficult death with lung cancer and my friend continue to smoke herself for years afterwards. Cigarettes are an evil product and the people who make them should be ashamed.
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Thanks Blannie- my mum does have emphysema but is not on oxygen. We are in Canada, I will ask her doc about the drug you just mentioned and see what he says. Thanks so much for taking the time to get that info for me :-)
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OK, google and research roflumilast. According to yahoodotcom, "in March 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the medication for the treatment of COPD. Roflumilast treats excessive mucus and coughing, which are usually associated with chronic bronchitis. Currently it is not used to treat emphysema, which is the other form of COPD." Maybe that's something your mom could try.
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My mum just had a lung function test last month, the technician said that she did really well although her oxygen level was slightly below normal but not low enough that she would require home oxygen. My mum is on furosemide, she does not have swelling anywhere on her legs/ankles at all, she just has this excess mucus that she coughs up which seems to be clear. She sees her doc every 3 months and he said he wants her in at the end of October when the flu vaccines have arrived and he wants her to have the pneumovax (sp?) as well. Her chances of getting the flu are minimal I think because she doesn't really go out where there are groups of people, but her doc said he definitely wants her to have it. I'm on a corticosteroid preventative inhaler for asthma to reduce inflammation, I wonder if something like that would help her? I will ask him when I see him at the end of this month but I just thought some of you might have suggestions on a medication I could talk to him about.
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Do not get a flu shot unless you know the patient is in good health. She should have a chest CT scan yearly, was this done? Get a pulse oximeter at the drugstore and keep track of her O2 levels. Yes, get the Lasix or whichever diuretic the MD prescribes. Ask for a CBC and CMP every 6 months. Get a weekly visiting nurse if you can.
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Is she on a diuretic - a medication that takes out excess fluid from her body? My mom has very mild COPD and is on the generic of lasix (furosemide) to keep her fluid build-up under control. I know there's a careful balance of taking out too much fluid which can be problematic for older folks.
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