What Does Roflumilast Do?
Roflumilast inhibits the actions of a certain enzyme, resulting in a decrease in inflammation. This is very important because inflammation causes the formation of abnormal lung tissue, a process called fibrosis.
Scar tissue, which is a type of connective tissue, replaces cells within your lungs. As a result, you have fewer lung cells, which in turn decreases your ability to take in oxygen and rid your body of excess carbon dioxide. Fibrotic tissues are hard and inflexible. Breathing becomes less effective, painful and difficult if scar tissue is present.
Inflammation causes swelling and narrowing of your air passages, preventing air from moving freely. In addition to making the work of breathing harder, this can result in fluid building up within your lungs, and can affect your heart too. You may develop serious conditions, such as congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema. These conditions often require hospitalization.
Poor air movement coupled with fluid accumulation within your lungs makes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to lodge and grow. Your chance of contracting pneumonia increases if secretions pool. It is also harder to cough them up and increases shortness of breath.
How is Roflumilast Used?
The drug may be prescribed if you have moderate to severe COPD symptoms. It is most commonly prescribed to people who have chronic bronchitis, frequent flare-ups, and require the frequent use of inhalers.
Roflumilast is not for people with mild COPD. Consult with your health care professional in order to determine whether it may be beneficial for you or not. The prescribing professional or your pharmacist will give you specific information about the medication and its use.
If your health care professional prescribes roflumilast, it is likely that you will continue to need your regular COPD medications, including inhaled bronchodilators. You may still need steroids in order to open up your air passages and relieve swelling within your airways.
Side Effects of Roflumilast
The most common side effects of the drug include anxiety, depression and insomnia. Contact your health care provider if you experience changes in mood. If you have a history of anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts, notify your doctor if they are considering ordering roflumilast.
Diarrhea, weight loss and nausea may occur. Monitor your weight regularly. If an unexplained weight loss occurs, notify the prescriber.
Your health care prescriber should reduce the dosage of the medication if you have kidney disease or mild liver illness. According to the U.S. manufacturer you should not take the drug if you have severe liver disease.
Increased rates of prostate and lung cancer have been reported among roflumilast users. You should not take this medication if you take certain medications which are prescribed to control seizures as the roflumilast may not work.
Is Roflumilast Helpful?
You and your health care provider need to weigh the risks and benefits of any drug, including roflumilast, prior to and during treatment.
Roflumilast may help to reduce flare-ups and preserve the health of your lungs, but the drug is not safe for everyone. For example, if you are underweight and the drug causes weight loss, this may impair your health.
Ask your health care provider about the new findings regarding drug tolerance, inflammation and cancer risk.