When should a nebulizer be used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Updated: Aug 15, 2019
  • Author: Paul Kleinschmidt, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Note that, in mild or moderate exacerbations, the use of MDIs with an aerosol chamber in higher doses (6-12 puffs) can achieve equivalent bronchodilation as the use of a nebulizer. This is particularly important in the office and prehospital setting.

Epinephrine or terbutaline can be administered subcutaneously when intravenous access is not possible or the patient is moving so little air that nebulizer therapy is ineffective. Terbutaline is thought to be safer in older patients, and it has shown to be more efficacious than epinephrine.


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