COPD Rescue Pack Information

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Rescue Pack Information

What are COPD rescue medicines?

Your COPD rescue medicines are a supply of standby medications to start if your COPD gets worse before you are able to see your GP.

You will have been prescribed two different COPD rescue medications:

  • STEROIDS - Prednisolone 5mg tablets
  • ANTIBIOTICS - Amoxicillin 500mg capsules 

Please read the following information carefully:

When should I take my COPD rescue medicines?

Only start your rescue medication if you are having a flare-up of your COPD.

You should have a COPD management plan explaining the steps you should take in the event of a flare-up of your COPD/lung attack. If you do not have a current management plan, contact your GP or COPD nurse. You should make a note of the expiry date of your medicines and ensure you request another supply for your GP or nurse if you have medicines that are out of date.

The medication in this Rescue Pack should only be used for flare ups of your COPD, not for any other medical condition or by any other person.

Your COPD may be getting worse if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Increased breathlessness which interferes with daily activities
  • New or increased chest tightness
  • Change in sputum (phlegm) quantity
  • Change in sputum (phlegm) colour
  • Cough – new or increased

If you have one of these symptoms,

  • Increase your reliever (blue) inhaler medication
  • Continue with your other inhalers as normal
  • Rest and keep indoors (see your COPD management plan)

If you have two or more symptoms for over 24 hours, despite using more of your reliever inhaler (blue), start your rescue pack as follows: 

1. Steroid (Prednisolone 5mg) tablets

If one of the symptoms is a change in the colour of your sputum (phlegm), especially if it is becoming green or brown you should also start the antibiotic capsules. Take SIX tablets immediately and then take six tablets again as a single dose each morning, with food, for seven days

2. Antibiotic (Amoxicillin 500mg) capsules. Take ONE capsule three times a day until course complete.

What should I do if I’ve forgotten to take a dose?

It is important that you take the medication as prescribed. However, if you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember and then carry on taking your next dose at its regular time. If you realise you have missed a dose but it is almost time for your next dose, do not take a double dose, skip the dose you have missed, take the next dose at its regular time and then carry on as normal with any remaining doses.  

Are there any side effects?

All medications may cause side effects. With short courses such as your COPD Rescue medicines, most people don’t have any problems.

The patient information leaflet supplied with each medication list the more common side effects and other precautions for each medication. Please read these leaflets. If you are concerned about any side effects please contact your COPD nurse, GP or community pharmacist for further information.

What else should I do?

If you start your rescue pack, you must contact your GP Practice/Practice Nurse to inform them that you are less well and have started the rescue pack.

Alternatively patients under the care of the Rapid Response Respiratory Team may contact them to inform them you are less well and have started the rescue pack. Monday - Friday 8.30am to 6.30pm: 01928 753165, Bank Holidays/Weekends - 8.30am to 6.30pm: 01925 753165 - please ask for on call staff.

If you develop any emergency symptoms, even after starting the rescue pack, such as:

  • Severe breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Inability to complete sentences
  • High fever or temperature
  • Symptoms coming on very quickly
  • New (or worsening of existing ) swelling of the legs

Contact your GP Practice/Urgent Care Centre* immediately.

Alternatively if you are under the care of the Rapid Response Respiratory Team contact them immediately.

In an extreme emergency dial 999 and ask for an ambulance

If you need to go to the hospital please take all your medications with you.

Once you have recovered from your COPD flare-up/ lung attack make sure you make an appointment for a review with your GP Practice/Practice nurse and request a replacement Rescue Pack.