Recent Study Characterizes Patients with COPD

Compares results to those with both COPD and asthma

Investigators recently reviewed data of individuals prescribed inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to compare characteristics of patients who have COPD alone with those who have COPD and concomitant asthma.

Patients with COPD and asthma are more likely to be younger, have more preserved lung function, and be diagnosed with depression compared with those who have COPD alone, according to the study, published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Using data provided by general practitioners, researchers assessed patient demographics, smoking habits, spirometry, COPD medication, dyspnea score, and exacerbation histories. Patients included in the study had confirmed diagnoses of COPD, were currently prescribed ICS, and were managed by general practitioners, most often in primary care.  

Records showed 2289 patients with COPD currently on ICS therapy who were eligible for analysis, of which 540 had concomitant asthma. The total cohort skewed slightly female (55%) and had a mean age of 71.

Compared with those with COPD alone, patients with COPD plus asthma were slightly younger with an average age of 69 compared with 72. Patients with COPD and asthma also had fewer pack years (25.75 [SD 20.97] vs 35.52 [22.21]) and a lower Medical Research Council score (2.35 [0.98] vs 2.79 [1.13]) compared with those who had COPD alone. Patients with COPD and asthma also exhibited a lower COPD Assessment Test score.

While patients with COPD and patients with COPD and asthma exhibit many of the same comorbidities, in the COPD-only cohort, researchers found cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis to be more prevalent than in individuals with COPD and asthma. In contrast, patients with COPD plus asthma exhibited higher rates of depression and anxiety.

“Reduced benefit from corticosteroids and increased inflammation in the airways has previously been suggested as a side effect of being a current smoker in patients with chronic airway diseases such as COPD and asthma,” researchers said.


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