Several effective medical therapies have been developed over the past few decades for the management of COPD. Most can help relieve the symptoms associated with COPD, increase functional ability and improve quality of life. Some interventions have been shown to reduce the chance of acute exacerbations of COPD. This is important because exacerbations are primary drivers for morbidity and decline in health that affect individuals with COPD. Some interventions, such as oxygen supplementation when appropriate, quitting smoking and lung volume reduction surgery in selected cases, have been shown to extend life. The scientific proof of the efficacy of these interventions has come from painstaking research, particularly in the form of well-designed clinical trials. Unfortunately, no curative therapy has been developed for COPD and none offer significant improvement for most individuals who have severely advanced COPD.