Maintenance medications that contain an inhaled corticosteroid (sometimes referred to as steroids) are also known as ‘preventer’ medications and ICS. Corticosteroids are effective in COPD and are different to anabolic steroids. In more severe COPD, these medicines help to reduce the number of flare ups people may experience by reducing inflammation which causes swelling and sputum production in the breathing tubes or airways. They are especially important to use if you also have asthma as they specifically treat the type of inflammation or swelling that commonly occurs in asthma. Preventers must be taken twice a day every day to be effective. It may take up to a few weeks for you to start noticing their effect. So, it is important for you to keep taking them to have an impact on your symptoms.