Rescue Pack Information

Rescue Packs – Only for COPD

‘Rescue packs’ will be issued in specific cases, only for patients with confirmed COPD. Their use in other lung conditions is not clinically appropriate and may be harmful.

Guidance on use of ‘rescue packs’ for COPD

Rescue packs are suitable for people who have had/are at risk of 2 exacerbations per year – based on their medical history, this will be decided by a doctor.

It is essential that you can recognise the onset of an exacerbation in contrast to the daily variations of the symptoms:

  • Change in the volume, colour of phlegm and/or
  • Sudden worsening of breathlessness/wheeze

You must be aware of the side effects and risks of rescue packs:

  • Over-use/unnecessary use of steroids can result in skin thinning, bone thinning and raised risk of osteoporosis and fractures, diabetes, pneumonia and cataracts.
  • Over-use/unnecessary use of antibiotics, or not taking the course exactly as prescribed, can result in antibiotic resistance – for you and for the population.
  • Inappropriate use of rescue packs means that accessing healthcare may be incorrectly delayed. This is why it is really important that you know what you are doing.

Non-urgent advice: Please Remember

Steroids are thought to make coronavirus worse. Antibiotics will not have any effect on coronavirus.

Therefore, if you think your exacerbation does not match your usual pattern exacerbation symptoms, you must contact us or 111. If the 111 guidance suggests that you have coronavirus then please do not take them.


Rescue packs will not be issued for asthma as all asthma exacerbations need assessment by a clinician, either by telephone or face to face. Please do not submit requests for these as they will be rejected.