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.