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Hvidovre Hospital - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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COPD patients prescribed inhaled corticosteroid in primary care: time for re-assessment based on exacerbation rate and blood eosinophils?

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy for COPD should be guided by exacerbations and blood-eosinophils according to the GOLD 2020 strategy document. In the present study, we applied these recent recommendations in a large cohort of COPD patients recruited from general practice.

METHODS: The participating general practitioners (n = 144) recruited patients with a diagnosis of COPD currently prescribed ICS and reported data on exacerbation history and blood-eosinophils. Clinical variables were compared using two-sample t-tests.

RESULTS: The study cohort comprised 1,567 COPD patients (44% males and mean age 72 years). In the past 12 months, 849 (54%) of the COPD patients currently prescribed ICS had no exacerbation, whereas 383 (24%) and 328 (21%) patients, respectively, had a history of one exacerbation and two or more exacerbations. Compared to patients with one or no exacerbation, patients with ≥ 2 exacerbations (21%) per year reported more dyspnea (p < 0.001) and had higher degree of airflow obstruction (p < 0.001). Among patients with no and at least one exacerbation within the preceding 12 months, 30% and 26%, respectively, had a blood-eosinophil count ≥ 0.3 × 109/L. In patients with two or more exacerbations within the last 12 months, 77% had a blood-eosinophil count of ≥ 0.1 × 109/L. Furthermore, 166 patients (11%) had at least one hospital admission due to COPD exacerbation, and a blood-eosinophil count of ≥ 0.1 × 109/L.

CONCLUSION: This study of a large cohort of COPD patients currently prescribed inhaled corticosteroids suggests the need for re-evaluating the management strategy to increase benefit and reduce adverse effects of ICS treatment in COPD patients managed in primary care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number54
JournalRespiratory Research
Volume22
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
ISSN1465-9921
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2021

    Research areas

  • COPD, Eosinophils, Exacerbations, General practice, ICS

ID: 62295678