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Bronchodilators

by Pravin Shukle, MD
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    So, let's talk about bronchodilators. Now bronchodilator action is limited to taking that constricted inflammed airway and opening it up. The drug binds to the beta 2 receptor in the lung and it stimulates cyclic AMP in smooth muscle cells. Those smooth muscles relax in the bronchial muscle and you get dilatation. Now, obviously you're not fully treated because those airways are still kind of thick, aren't they? Short acting beta agonists generally last less than 6 hours such as albuterol. Long acting beta agonists or LABAs act over 24 to 48 hours sometimes 12 hours. These are salmeterol, formoterol and so on. Those drugs are used once or twice a day. Now, there is a drug specifically indicated for COPD that is also in the beta agonist list but we are going to leave that alone for now. Toxicity of bronchodilators is pretty rare. You can sometimes get tachycardia or tremor and sometimes you can get hyperexcitibility, but as I said, because these are inflammed agents, you're not really going to have a lot of symptoms. Methylxanthines are purine derivatives. Now caffeine is a methylxanthine. So, when you think about effects and side effects, think about caffeine on your own body. Theophylline is the prototypical respiratory methylxanthine. These drugs act by inhibiting phosphodiesterase. And PDE3 activates bronchodilation. When you have these drugs on board, you may also increase diaphragmatic strength. Two cups of coffee can actually cause bronchodilation so you can understand that these drugs may be quite potent. The side effects are the same as drinking too much coffee. Gastrointestinal distress usually manisfested by cramping. Tremor and insomnia. A toxicity of these agents can be arrhythmia and low blood pressure. And vomiting is also a potential side effect. The antidote for these medications is beta blockers because you...

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    The lecture Bronchodilators by Pravin Shukle, MD is from the course Respiratory Pharmacology.


    Author of lecture Bronchodilators

     Pravin Shukle, MD

    Pravin Shukle, MD


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