Most cases of acute bronchitis are caused by viral infections. In a person, who is otherwise healthy, the symptoms of bronchitis subside naturally within two to three weeks. In the meantime, medications are prescribed to treat fever, reduce coughing and ease breathing.
Medications to Treat bronchitis
Nagging cough triggered by bronchitis may be treated with over-the-counter cough suppressants and expectorants. Dextromethorphan is the most common ingredient in the cough medicines. By suppressing the cough reflex, dextromethorphan provides relief from persistent coughing. These cough medications are usually not recommended for stopping productive cough that by eliminating mucus from the lungs helps to clear the airways.
Nonetheless, if a productive cough disturbs sleep, cough suppressant syrup may be taken to reduce coughing. Expectorants are considered a better alternative to cough suppressants containing dextromethorphan. By thinning the mucus, they make it easier for the bronchitis patient to cough up mucus.
The short acting beta2-agonists help to ease breathing. Common beta2-agonists used for treating asthma include albuterol, pirbuterol, levalbuterol, terbutaline and metaproterenol. These inhaled drugs are used for treating acute as well as chronic bronchitis. By relaxing the muscles lining the airways, they improve airflow through the lungs.
These inhalers act rapidly. Within five minutes, you will start breathing easily after inhaling the drug. The beneficial effect of the bronchodilator usually lasts for up to six hours. Nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, anxiety and nervousness are some of the side effects of beta2-agonists.
People suffering from chronic bronchitis often use inhaled corticosteroids to ease breathing. Corticosteroids used for treating asthma attack include fluticasone, budesonide, beclomethasone, mometasone and ciclesonide.
Inhaled corticosteroids are considered safe. When used for a prolonged period for treating chronic bronchitis, they increase the risk of developing fungal infection in the throat and mouth.
Acetaminophen or Paracetamol
Fever and pain, common symptoms of a vial infection, is treated with acetaminophen or paracetamol. These drugs are known as antipyretics or fever reducer and analgesics. They are usually available over the counter. Sometimes, prescription acetaminophen drugs are prescribed by doctors. Acetaminophen is well tolerated.
The fever, headache, body ache and cold can be healed with ibuprofen. This medication belongs to the class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Ibuprofen works by suppressing production of chemicals that cause inflammation, pain and fever.
Bronchitis patients can take up to four ibuprofen tablets for reducing the discomfort. Ibuprofen is a safer non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Dizziness, constipation, diarrhea, nervousness, gas and tinnitus are some of the rare side effects of the drug.
Aspirin is sometimes used as an alternative to ibuprofen or acetaminophen for treating fever, headache and body ache in bronchitis patients. This nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication works by inhibiting activities of certain substances that induce fever, inflammation and pain. Aspirin works for a longer time than other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, it may cause stomach upset.
People susceptible to stomach problems should take aspirin with food or milk to avoid this side effect of the drug. Easy bruising, bleeding, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ear, difficulty in hearing and changes in urination are some side effects of aspirin.