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      Characteristics of patients with COPD newly prescribed a long-acting bronchodilator: a retrospective cohort study

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          This study aimed to characterize patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) newly prescribed a long-acting bronchodilator (LABD), and to assess changes in medication over 24 months.


          A cohort of patients with COPD aged ≥40 years newly prescribed an LABD between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009 were identified from the Truven Marketscan ® Commercial Database (Truven Health Analytics, Ann Arbor, MI, USA) and followed for 24 months. Inclusion criteria included no prior prescription for an LABD or inhaled corticosteroids for 12 months prior to the LABD index date (baseline). Patient characteristics were examined. As LABDs were mainly long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs), additions, switches, discontinuation, adherence to (medication possession ratio), and persistence (proportion of days covered) with LAMA monotherapy were assessed for 24 months following the index date. Adherence and persistence with long-acting β 2-agonists (LABAs) were also assessed.


          A cohort of 3,268 patients aged 40–65 years was identified (mean age 55.8 years, 48% male). LAMA monotherapy was prescribed to 93% of patients who received an LABD. During the 24-month follow-up, 16% of these patients added COPD medication, 10% switched to an inhaled corticosteroid-containing medication, and 25% discontinued after one LAMA prescription at baseline. Over 12 and 24 months, adherence to LAMA was 40% and 33%, respectively, and adherence to LABA was 29% and 24%, respectively. Over the same time periods, persistence with LAMA monotherapy was 19% and 15%, respectively, and persistence with LABA was 9% and 7%, respectively.


          Adherence to newly initiated LAMA monotherapy was low, with one in four patients adding to or switching from LAMA and many patients discontinuing therapy. Adherence to LABA was also low. These results suggest that additional medication to a single LABD may be required in some patients with COPD to achieve optimal disease control.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Prevalence and underdiagnosis of COPD by disease severity and the attributable fraction of smoking Report from the Obstructive Lung Disease in Northern Sweden Studies.

          There is a lack of epidemiological data on COPD by disease severity. We have estimated the prevalence and underdiagnosis of COPD by disease severity defined by the British Thoracic Society (BTS) and Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines. The impact of smoking was evaluated by the population attributable fraction of smoking in COPD. A random sample of 1500 responders of the third postal survey performed in 1996 of the Obstructive Lung Disease in Northern Sweden (OLIN) Studies' first cohort (6610 subjects recruited in 1985) were invited to structured interview and spirometry. One thousand two hundred and thirty-seven subjects (82%) performed spirometry. The prevalence of mild BTS-COPD was 5.3%, moderate 2.2%, and severe 0.6% (GOLD-COPD: mild 8.2%, moderate 5.3%, severe 0.7%, and very severe 0.1%). All subjects with severe COPD were symptomatic, corresponding figures among mild COPD were 88% and 70% (BTS and GOLD), Subjects with severe BTS-COPD reported a physician-diagnosis consistent with COPD in 50% of cases, in mild BTS-COPD 19%, while in mild GOLD-COPD only 5% of cases. The major risk factors, age and smoking, had a synergistic effect on the COPD-prevalence. The Odds Ratio (OR) for having COPD among smokers aged 76-77 years was 59 and 34 (BTS and GOLD) when non-smokers aged 46-47 was used as reference population. Most subjects with COPD have a mild disease. The underdiagnosis is related to disease-severity. Though being symptomatic, only a half of the subjects with severe COPD are properly labelled. Smoking and increasing age were the major risk factors and acted synergistic.
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            The role of medication noncompliance and adverse drug reactions in hospitalizations of the elderly.

             J Fanale,  P Kronholm,  N Col (1990)
            We interviewed 315 consecutive elderly patients admitted to an acute care hospital to determine the percentage of elderly hospital admissions due to noncompliance with medication regimens or adverse drug reactions, their causes, consequences, and predictors. Eighty-nine of the elderly admissions (28.2%) were drug related, 36 due to noncompliance (11.4%), and 53 due to adverse drug reactions (16.8%). One hundred three patients had a history of noncompliance (32.7%). Factors statistically associated with a higher risk of hospitalization due to noncompliance were poor recall of medication regimen, seeing numerous physicians, female, medium income category, use of numerous medications, and having the opinion that medications are expensive. Factors associated with an increased risk of an admission due to an adverse drug reaction were use of numerous different medications, higher medication costs, receiving Medicaid, and not receiving any home services. In conclusion, many elderly admissions are drug related; noncompliance accounting for a substantial fraction of these. Elders at high risk of being noncompliant are identifiable using a variety of criteria. Economic factors were important in predicting admissions due to noncompliance as well as adverse drug reactions.
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              Medication non-adherence in the elderly: how big is the problem?

               Carmel Hughes (2003)
              Adherence to medication is one of the most intriguing and complex behaviours demonstrated by patients. Non-adherence to a therapeutic regimen may result in negative outcomes for patients and may be compounded in populations with multiple morbidities which require multiple drug therapy. Such a population is exemplified by the elderly. However, non-adherence may not be more prevalent in older patients and there is no consensus in the literature that age is a predictor of poor adherence. Indeed, older patients may deliberately choose not to adhere to medication (intentional non-adherence) to avoid adverse effects. Furthermore, many of the studies on adherence lack commonality in terms of how adherence is measured, the definition of an 'older' patient and the range of disease states which have been examined. Adherence may also be affected by access to medications which may be restricted by the use of formularies or insurance programmes. However, non-adherence may represent a greater risk in older people resulting in poor disease control which may be compounded with multiple morbidity and polypharmacy. A range of strategies have been implemented to try and improve adherence in this patient population. The use of forgiving drugs (those which have a prescribed dosage interval that is 50% or less the duration of drug action) may facilitate occasional lapses in drug-taking. Drug holidays (deliberate, supervised non-adherence for a fixed period of time) have been used in Parkinson's disease to reduce adverse effects. Once-daily scheduling of drug administration may offer a pragmatic approach to optimising drug therapy in some patients; this may be supplemented through the use of compliance aids. What is increasingly apparent, however, is that the role of the patient (irrespective of age) is critical in decision-making about medication, together with communication between patients and healthcare professionals. This has been articulated through the concept of concordance which has been described as a therapeutic alliance between the patient and healthcare professional. In addition, interventions employed to improve adherence must be multifaceted, and together with practical approaches (reducing unnecessary drugs and simplifying dosage regimens), the patient perspective must be considered. Good adherence should be seen as a means of achieving a satisfactory therapeutic result and not as an end in itself.

                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
                25 September 2014
                : 9
                : 1021-1031
                [1 ]Worldwide Epidemiology, GlaxoSmithKline R&D, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
                [2 ]Worldwide Epidemiology, GlaxoSmithKline R&D, Uxbridge, UK
                [3 ]Worldwide Epidemiology, GlaxoSmithKline R&D, Wavre, Belgium
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Keele E Wurst, Worldwide Epidemiology, GlaxoSmithKline R&D, 5 Moore Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA, Tel +1 919 483 7994, Fax +1 919 315 8747, Email keele.e.wurst@
                © 2014 Wurst et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                switching, persistence, long-acting bronchodilator, copd, adherence


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