You are now leaving GSK’s website

This link will take you to a non-GSK website. GSK does not recommend, endorse or accept liability for sites controlled by third-parties.


Go back

COPD questions and answers

The more you know about COPD and its treatment, the more you'll be able to help control your breathing difficulties. Read below for the answers to some frequently asked questions about COPD.

1. How did I get COPD?

Most people with COPD are smokers or have smoked in the past. Sometimes COPD is caused by working or living for many years in an environment where there is exposure to smoke, dust or other fumes. COPD mostly affects those over the age of 35. An inherited condition called ALPHA-1-ANTITRYPSIN deficiency can also cause COPD but this is quite rare.

Go to Close Top

2. Why do I feel like I'm not getting enough air?

COPD gradually damages the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. Airways become swollen and partly blocked by phlegm. COPD also damages the tiny air sacs at the tips of your airways, making it harder to breathe.

3. Can anxiety and stress cause breathing difficulties?

Emotional upsets and anxiety can cause breathing difficulties. If you are highly stressed and you are having trouble breathing, ask your doctor or COPD nurse for advice for coping with stress.

4. Can I stop taking Seretide if I'm feeling better?

No. Do not stop taking Seretide - even if you're feeling better. Your doctor can provide you with information about how to slowly stop the medication if necessary. Do not change your dose unless told to by your doctor or COPD nurse.

5. Can I become addicted to Seretide?

No, you cannot become addicted to Seretide. 

6. How does Seretide work to treat my COPD?

Read more about how Seretide works to treat your COPD on the How Seretide works page.

7. Does Seretide treat other respiratory infections, such as chest infections?

No. Seretide is a daily maintenance medication designed to help control your breathing difficulties. Seretide is not an antibiotic and it does not treat chest infections. If you think you have a chest infection, you should see your doctor or COPD nurse immediately. It is very important that even mild chest infections are treated right away.

8. What are the usual side effects of Seretide?

For more information on Seretide safety and side effects, please read the Seretide Diskus and Evohaler patient information leaflet.

9. How can I know that I'm taking my Seretide correctly?

Your doctor, COPD nurse or pharmacist can demonstrate how to use your Seretide properly. Every Seretide package includes illustrated step-by-step instructions.

10. Is there a test to see if my COPD is well managed?

Yes, there is a test to see if your COPD is well managed. Helping to improve your COPD management includes routinely checking your condition. Take the COPD Assessment Test to measure the impact COPD is having on your health and daily life.

11. What should I know about exercising with COPD?

A crucial part of your COPD management is exercise.

  • Exercise and staying active can help reduce shortness of breath.
  • Heart and breathing muscles that are in shape require less oxygen. While exercise doesn't reverse COPD, it can help improve your everyday quality of life.
  • Exercise helps you control and reduce your weight if required. Excess fat around the stomach is inclined to press on your diaphragm, making breathing more difficult.
  • Exercise builds your strength and endurance. The more you exercise, the easier routine activities, such as shopping, cooking, and cleaning become.
  • Exercise helps your level of activity, independence, and improves your feeling of well-being.

Always consult your doctor or COPD nurse before starting an exercise program.

12. How will I be able to tell when my COPD is getting worse?

Helping to improve your COPD management includes routinely checking your condition. There are warning signs that show that your chest condition is worsening. You should contact your doctor or COPD nurse as soon as possible if you notice:

  • An unusual increase or decrease in the amount of phlegm.
  • An unusual increase in the consistency and stickiness of the phlegm.
  • The presence of blood in phlegm.
  • A change in the colour of the phlegm to either brown, yellow or green.
  • An unusual increase in the severity of the breathlessness, cough or wheeze.
  • Symptoms of a cold (e.g. sore throat).
  • Unexplained tiredness or fever.
  • Chest tightness.
  • Unexplained swelling.
  • The necessity to increase the number of pillows in order to sleep in comfort.

If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed on this website or in the product package leaflet. You can also report side effects directly to the HPRA Pharmacovigilance, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2; Tel: +353 1 6764971; Fax: +353 1 6762517. Website:;

By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.

Seretide, Diskus and Evohaler are trademarks of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies.