Pulmonary medications

L. P. Cahalin*, H. S. Sadowsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Many of the patients seen by physical therapists have primary or secondary diagnoses for which cardiovascular- or pulmonary-active medications may be prescribed. There is a need, therefore, for physical therapists to understand the pharmacologic treatment of such patients. This article discusses medications commonly used in the treatment of pulmonary disorders. These medications are typically divided into the following categories: bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory agents, decongestants, antihistamines, antitussives, mucokinetics, respiratory stimulants and depressants, and paralyzing and antimicrobial agents. Regardless of which group a particular medication belongs to, the rationale for its prescription centers on promoting bronchodilation or relieving bronchoconstriction, facilitating the removal of secretions from the lungs, improving alveolar ventilation or oxygenation, or optimizing the breathing pattern. The relative importance of each of these goals depends on the specific disease process involved and the resultant respiratory problem(s).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-414
Number of pages18
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


  • Bronchodilator agents
  • Pharmacology
  • Pulmonary, general
  • Respiration
  • Ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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