Medications for Bronchitis
Basically there are two types of bronchitis, acute and chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is a short term illness that becomes more common during cold weather. It is usually followed by viral infection and can be associated with bacterial infections. Acute bronchitis usually clears itself within 2 weeks, but the cough may continue. And in some cases of acute bronchitis it can develop into pneumonia.
Infants and very young children, with underdeveloped immune systems and elderly who have weaker immune systems because of ageing, are more susceptible to acute bronchitis. Smokers and those with pre-existing lung and heart problems are also at risk in having acute bronchitis. People who are exposed to too much pollution are also more prone to this condition.
Chronic bronchitis is a respiratory illness where in the respiratory tract is also inflamed but in this case, it is accompanied with over secretion of mucus and coughing. The signs and symptoms can also last for a longer period of time. Chronic bronchitis can be caused by airway irritants including cigarette smoking and air pollution. This condition develops slowly, that is why middle aged and elderly individuals are most commonly diagnosed as having chronic bronchitis.
The main purpose of treating acute and chronic bronchitis is to lessen the signs and symptoms. For acute bronchitis, treatment may only consist of taking a lot of fluids, getting enough rest, installing humidifiers in the house, and stopping smoking. Medications are prescribed only when there is fever and pain, the most common is aspirin or Tylenol. Aspirin is contraindicated with very young children because it may result in Reye's syndrome and for pregnant women it may cause bleeding.
Medication for cough is only prescribed when patient has a dry cough or cough without phlegm. Expectorants are a common medication that can thin out hard mucus for easier coughing. But if the cough has phlegm, cough suppressants are not usually recommended, it will eventually comes out. If the phlegm is suppressed within the air passage, there will be an obstruction and it may become breeding area for dangerous microorganism.
However if the patient is diagnosed with bronchitis associated with bacterial infection, antibiotics are prescribed. Taking antibiotics must be done as prescribed, if not, it may worsen the illness or there may be antibiotic resistance. Common antibiotics prescribed are, Azithromycin, trimethoprim or sulfamethazole, clarithromycin, tetracycline or ampicillin and amoxicillin.
Treatment for Chronic bronchitis is more complex, the patient will be evaluated for other health problems first before proceeding with treating chronic bronchitis. Medications for chronic bronchitis include, anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids and Ipratropium. Bronchodilator medications are also prescribed to relax bronchial muscles to increase air flow. These can be taken orally or through a nebulizer. These include metaproterenol and albuterol.
In addition to conventional medicine, herbal medication may be prescribed for bronchitis. It can be in the form of a tea or it can be inhaled. The chronic bronchitis patient may eventually require the need for supplemental oxygen. And if the situation gets worse the patient should be taken to the hospital, so doctors can treat and monitor the condition.