Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, is a disease of the lungs characterized by symptoms like trouble breathing, cough, wheezing, chest tightness, and mucus (sputum) production. People with COPD may also experience frequent infections in the lungs and may suffer from a lack of energy. It is an inflammatory lung disease that leads to airflow becoming blocked (obstructed) from the lungs. COPD encompasses conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for COPD. It is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse over time. Interventions are aimed at slowing the progression of the disease, improving symptoms, improving quality of life, and reducing the risk of complications associated with COPD. If you’re a smoker, the best thing to do to slow the progression of your COPD is to stop smoking. Other things you can do are maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep active with exercise, and/or pulmonary rehabilitation (see resource three for more information on slowing COPD progression).
There are many medications available to help with COPD symptoms. Medications include inhaled medicines (both inhalers and nebulizers) and oral medications. There are certain medications and inhalers that are meant to be used every day to prevent symptoms. They last all day in your body to keep symptoms at bay throughout the day. These are called maintenance medications. Some examples of maintenance inhalers include Spiriva, Anoro, Advair, Dulera, Stiolto, Breo. Other inhalers are meant to be used for acute, or sudden, symptoms. These are often referred to as “rescue inhalers”. The most commonly used rescue inhalers are albuterol (also sold as Proair, Ventolin, or Proventil) or levalbuterol (Xopenex). Rescue inhalers are short-acting, so they do not last very long in the body like the maintenance medications do. By using a daily maintenance inhaler, the idea is to reduce symptoms and reduce the need for using a rescue inhaler throughout the day. Resource four (below) outlines the different therapies available to treat COPD.
Yupelri is a medication that was approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) in 2018 for the treatment of COPD, making it a relatively new treatment. Yupelri contains a medication called revefenacin. Revefenacin is part of a drug class called long-acting muscarinic antagonists, also called an anti-cholinergic agent. It works by opening up the airways (bronchodilation) through blocking the muscarinic receptors on the muscles around the airways in your lungs. This helps air move easier and controls symptoms. Yupelri is meant to be a daily maintenance medication that lasts 24 hours and improves breathing throughout the day. Yupelri is taken through a machine called a nebulizer. A nebulizer machine is a small machine that turns a liquid medication into a fine mist that you breathe in. Unlike some regular inhalers, you do not have to inhale forcefully to get a dose from a nebulizer. You can just breathe calmly, deeply, and evenly while using a mask or mouthpiece to inhale the fine mist from the nebulizer machine. See resource five for how to use a nebulizer. Yupelri is the first and only once-daily nebulized maintenance medication for COPD.
Though Yupelri is generally safe with minimal side effects, the most common side effects of Yupelri are cough, runny nose, upper airway infections, headache, and/or back pain. Yupelri may not be right for everyone. Tell your healthcare provider if you have prostate or bladder problems, liver problems, are pregnant, or have eye problems, like glaucoma, before starting Yupelri. Yupelri has not been studied in children. Due to the way the medication works, it could cause new or worsened eye problems like glaucoma, or it could lead to urinary retention. Yupelri should not be taken with other medications that contain an anti-cholinergic. Examples include Spiriva (tiotropium), glycopyrrolate, umeclidinium, and ipratropium. If you’re not sure whether Yupelri would interact with the medications you’re taking, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Yupelri is a great option to help control COPD symptoms. It is used just once daily and delivered through a nebulizer machine. The nebulizer machine can help certain people get a full dose of medication, especially those who have trouble using a standard inhaler or ellipta. Visit the resources listed below and talk with your healthcare provider if you want to learn more.
Disclaimer: This blog is written for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen online