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      Exacerbations among chronic bronchitis patients treated with maintenance medications from a US managed care population: an administrative claims data analysis

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          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations are the leading cause of hospital admission and death among chronic bronchitis (CB) patients. This study estimated annual COPD exacerbation rates, related costs, and their predictors among patients treated for CB.


          This was a retrospective study using claims data from the HealthCore Integrated Research Database (HIRD SM). The study sample included CB patients aged ≥ 40 years with at least one inpatient hospitalization or emergency department visit or at least two office visits with CB diagnosis from January 1, 2004 to May 31, 2011, at least two pharmacy fills for COPD medications during the follow-up year, and ≥2 years of continuous enrollment. COPD exacerbations were categorized as severe or moderate. Annual rates, costs, and predictors of exacerbations during follow-up were assessed.


          A total of 17,382 individuals treated for CB met the selection criteria (50.6% female; mean ± standard deviation age 66.7 ± 11.4 years). During the follow-up year, the mean ± standard deviation number of COPD maintenance medication fills was 7.6 ± 6.3; 42.6% had at least one exacerbation and 69.5% of patients with two or more exacerbations during the 1 year prior to the index date (baseline period) had any exacerbation during the follow-up year. The mean ± standard deviation cost per any exacerbation was $269 ± $748 for moderate and $18,120 ± $31,592 for severe exacerbation. The number of baseline exacerbations was a significant predictor of the number of exacerbations and exacerbation costs during follow-up.


          Exacerbation rates remained high among CB patients despite treatment with COPD maintenance medications. New treatment strategies, designed to reduce COPD exacerbations and associated costs, should focus on patients with high prior-year exacerbations.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Standards for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COPD: a summary of the ATS/ERS position paper.

           W MacNee,  ,  B Celli (2004)
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            COPD exacerbations .1: Epidemiology.

            The epidemiology of exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is reviewed with particular reference to the definition, frequency, time course, natural history and seasonality, and their relationship with decline in lung function, disease severity and mortality. The importance of distinguishing between recurrent and relapsed exacerbations is discussed.
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              COPD exacerbations: definitions and classifications.

              Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is defined independently of exacerbations, which are largely a feature of moderate-to-severe disease. This article is the result of a workshop that tried to define exacerbations of COPD for use in clinical, pharmacological and epidemiological studies. The conclusions represent the consensus of those present. This review describes definitions, ascertainment, severity assessments, duration and frequency, using varying sources of data including direct patient interview, healthcare databases and symptom diaries kept by patients in studies. The best general definition of a COPD exacerbation is the following: an exacerbation of COPD is a sustained worsening of the patient's condition, from the stable state and beyond normal day-to-day variations that is acute in onset and may warrant additional treatment in a patient with underlying COPD. A more specific definition for studies where a bacteriological cause of exacerbation is being studied is included, as well as simpler definitions for retrospective identification from database sources. Prospective diary card assessments are best recorded as changes from an agreed baseline, rather than absolute symptom severities. Diary cards identify many unreported exacerbations, which on average have similar severities to reported exacerbations. A scale for exacerbation severity is proposed that incorporates in- and outpatient assessments. Exacerbation duration, which also relates to severity, is defined from diary card reports. Healthcare utilisation is not an adequate substitute for severity, depending on many unrelated social and comorbidity factors. It is an outcome in its own right.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                09 April 2013
                : 8
                : 175-185
                [1 ]HealthCore Inc, Wilmington, DE
                [2 ]Forest Research Institute, Jersey City, NJ
                [3 ]Pharmerit North America, Bethesda, MD, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Azza AbuDagga, HealthCore Inc, 800 Delaware, Ave, 5th Floor, Wilmington, DE 19801, USA Tel +1 302 230 2000 Fax +1 302 230 2020 Email aabudagga@
                © 2013 AbuDagga et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

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