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Management of Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease: a Review of Long Acting Beta 2 Agonists

  • Pharmacology of Acute Care (J Fanikos, Section Editor)
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Purpose of Review

Use of inhaled aerosols allows selective treatment of the lungs by achieving high drug concentrations in the airways while minimizing systemic effects. Inhaled long acting beta 2 agonists (ILAB) produce a more rapid onset of action than oral delivery and are convenient and safe for the most patients. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a respiratory disease that causes progressive symptoms of breathlessness, cough, and mucus buildup. It is the sixth most common cause of death worldwide and is associated with significant healthcare costs.

Recent Findings

ILAB have demonstrated to be very effective in the treatment of asthma and COPD. They work through sustained muscle relaxation and are potent bronchodilators. ILAB’s are widely prescribed to manage the symptoms of COPD and asthma when short-acting agents alone are no longer sufficient.


Twice-daily treatment with an inhaled ILAB or once-a-day treatment with the Ultra LABA is aimed at relieving symptoms, improving exercise tolerance and quality of life, slowing decline of disease, improving lung function, and preventing and treating exacerbations. There is no evidence to support the use of ILAB or the Ultra LABA, alone or in combination with a corticosteroid, as a first line agent for treatment of COPD or asthma.

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Correspondence to Ronald A. Romard.

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The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Pharmacology of Acute Care

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Romard, R.A. Management of Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease: a Review of Long Acting Beta 2 Agonists. Curr Emerg Hosp Med Rep 5, 16–20 (2017).

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