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This chapter will be most useful after having a basic understanding of the material in Chapter 36, Pulmonary Pharmacology in Goodman & Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 12th Edition. In addition to the material presented here, the 12th Edition contains:

  • A description of the pathogenesis of asthma, including Figure 36-1: Cellular mechanisms of asthma

  • A description of the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including Figure 36-2: Cellular mechanisms in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • A description of the various routes of drug delivery to the lungs, including Figure 36-3: Schematic representation of the deposition of inhaled drugs

  • The molecular structures of some of the drugs used to treat asthma, COPD, and other pulmonary diseases


  • Understand the mechanisms of action of bronchodilator drugs used to relax airway smooth muscle and drugs used to prevent bronchoconstriction.

  • Understand the anti-inflammatory mechanism of action of corticosteroids, and the role of inhaled and oral corticosteroids in the pharmacotherapy of asthma.

  • Understand the mechanism of action of mucolytic agents.

  • Understand the mechanisms of action of antitussive drugs.

  • Understand the mechanisms of action of drugs used to treat pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH).

  • Know the untoward effects of the various bronchodilator drugs, corticosteroids, antitussive drugs, and drugs used to treat PAH.

  • Know which patients should be treated and when treatment should be initiated in patients with asthma, COPD, and PAH.

  • Know which drugs are most effective in treating patients with asthma, COPD, and PAH.

  • Know which drugs can be used in combination to treat asthma, COPD, and PAH.


  • Albuterol (salbutamol; VENTOLIN, PROVENTIL, ACCUNEB, others)

  • Ambrisentan (LETAIRIS)

  • Arformoterol (BROVENA)

  • Beclomethasone dipropionate (QVAR)

  • Benzonatate (TESSALON, others)

  • Bosentan (TRACLEER)

  • Budesonide (PULMICORT, others)

  • Budesonide/formoterol (SYMBICORT)

  • Ciclesonide (ALVESCO, OMNARIS)

  • Codeine

  • Dextromethorphan

  • DNAase (dornase alfa, PULMOZYME)

  • Doxapram (DOPRAM, others)

  • Epoprostenol (prostacyclin, PGI2; FLOLAN, others)

  • Flunisolide (AEROBID)

  • Fluticasone (AEROSPAN, FLOVENT)

  • Fluticasone/salmeterol (ADVAIR)

  • Formoterol (FORADIL, others)

  • Guaifenesin

  • Hydrocortisone

  • Iloprost (VENTAVIS)

  • Indacaterol (ARCAPTA NEOHALER)

  • Ipratropium bromide (ATROVENT, others)

  • Ipratropium/albuterol (COMBIVENT, DUONEB, others)

  • Levalbuterol (XOPENEX)

  • Metaproterenol (ALUPENT, METAPREL)

  • Methylprednisolone

  • Mometasone (ASMANEX)

  • Montelukast (SINGULAIR)

  • N-acetylcysteine (MUCOMYST, others)

  • Omalizumab

  • Pirbuterol (MAXAIR)

  • Prednisolone

  • Prednisone

  • Salmeterol (SEREVENT)

  • Sildenafil (REVATIO)

  • Tadalafil (ADCIRCA)

  • Terbutaline (BRETHINE, others)

  • Tiotropium bromide (SPIRIVA)

  • Treprostinil (REMODULIN, TYVASO)

  • Triamcinolone (AZMACORT, others)

  • Zafirlukast (ACCOLATE)

  • Zileuton (ZYFLO)


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