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      Determinants for changing the treatment of COPD: a regression analysis from a clinical audit

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          This study is an analysis of a pilot COPD clinical audit that evaluated adherence to guidelines for patients with COPD in a stable disease phase during a routine visit in specialized secondary care outpatient clinics in order to identify the variables associated with the decision to step-up or step-down pharmacological treatment.


          This study was a pilot clinical audit performed at hospital outpatient respiratory clinics in the region of Andalusia, Spain (eight provinces with over eight million inhabitants), in which 20% of centers in the area (catchment population 3,143,086 inhabitants) were invited to participate. Treatment changes were evaluated in terms of the number of prescribed medications and were classified as step-up, step-down, or no change. Three backward stepwise binominal multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to evaluate variables associated with stepping up, stepping down, and inhaled corticosteroids discontinuation.


          The present analysis evaluated 565 clinical records (91%) of the complete audit. Of those records, 366 (64.8%) cases saw no change in pharmacological treatment, while 99 patients (17.5%) had an increase in the number of drugs, 55 (9.7%) had a decrease in the number of drugs, and 45 (8.0%) noted a change to other medication for a similar therapeutic scheme. Exacerbations were the main factor in stepping up treatment, as were the symptoms themselves. In contrast, rather than symptoms, doctors used forced expiratory volume in 1 second and previous treatment with long-term antibiotics or inhaled corticosteroids as the key determinants to stepping down treatment.


          The majority of doctors did not change the prescription. When changes were made, a number of related factors were noted. Future trials must evaluate whether these therapeutic changes impact clinically relevant outcomes at follow-up.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Management of COPD in the UK primary-care setting: an analysis of real-life prescribing patterns

          Background Despite the availability of national and international guidelines, evidence suggests that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment is not always prescribed according to recommendations. This study evaluated the current management of patients with COPD using a large UK primary-care database. Methods This analysis used electronic patient records and patient-completed questionnaires from the Optimum Patient Care Research Database. Data on current management were analyzed by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) group and presence or absence of a concomitant asthma diagnosis, in patients with a COPD diagnosis at ≥35 years of age and with spirometry results supportive of the COPD diagnosis. Results A total of 24,957 patients were analyzed, of whom 13,557 (54.3%) had moderate airflow limitation (GOLD Stage 2 COPD). The proportion of patients not receiving pharmacologic treatment for COPD was 17.0% in the total COPD population and 17.7% in the GOLD Stage 2 subset. Approximately 50% of patients in both cohorts were receiving inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), either in combination with a long-acting β2-agonist (LABA; 26.7% for both cohorts) or a LABA and a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA; 23.2% and 19.9%, respectively). ICS + LABA and ICS + LABA + LAMA were the most frequently used treatments in GOLD Groups A and B. Of patients without concomitant asthma, 53.7% of the total COPD population and 50.2% of the GOLD Stage 2 subset were receiving ICS. Of patients with GOLD Stage 2 COPD and no exacerbations in the previous year, 49% were prescribed ICS. A high proportion of GOLD Stage 2 COPD patients were symptomatic on their current management (36.6% with modified Medical Research Council score ≥2; 76.4% with COPD Assessment Test score ≥10). Conclusion COPD is not treated according to GOLD and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommendations in the UK primary-care setting. Some patients receive no treatment despite experiencing symptoms. Among those on treatment, most receive ICS irrespective of severity of airflow limitation, asthma diagnosis, and exacerbation history. Many patients on treatment continue to have symptoms.
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            Current concepts in targeting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease pharmacotherapy: making progress towards personalised management.

            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common, complex, and heterogeneous disorder that is responsible for substantial and growing morbidity, mortality, and health-care expense worldwide. Of imperative importance to decipher the complexity of COPD is to identify groups of patients with similar clinical characteristics, prognosis, or therapeutic needs, the so-called clinical phenotypes. This strategy is logical for research but might be of little clinical value because clinical phenotypes can overlap in the same patient and the same clinical phenotype could result from different biological mechanisms. With the goal to match assessment with treatment choices, the latest iteration of guidelines from the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease reorganised treatment objectives into two categories: to improve symptoms (ie, dyspnoea and health status) and to decrease future risk (as predicted by forced expiratory volume in 1 s level and exacerbations history). This change thus moves treatment closer to individualised medicine with available bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory drugs. Yet, future treatment options are likely to include targeting endotypes that represent subtypes of patients defined by a distinct pathophysiological mechanism. Specific biomarkers of these endotypes would be particularly useful in clinical practice, especially in patients in which clinical phenotype alone is insufficient to identify the underlying endotype. A few series of potential COPD endotypes and biomarkers have been suggested. Empirical knowledge will be gained from proof-of-concept trials in COPD with emerging drugs that target specific inflammatory pathways. In every instance, specific endotype and biomarker efforts will probably be needed for the success of these trials, because the pathways are likely to be operative in only a subset of patients. Network analysis of human diseases offers the possibility to improve understanding of disease pathobiological complexity and to help with the development of new treatment alternatives and, importantly, a reclassification of complex diseases. All these developments should pave the way towards personalised treatment of patients with COPD in the clinic.
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              Spanish COPD Guidelines (GesEPOC): pharmacological treatment of stable COPD. Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery.

              Recognizing the clinical heterogeneity of COPD suggests a specific therapeutic approach directed by the so-called clinical phenotypes of the disease. The Spanish COPD Guidelines (GesEPOC) is an initiative of SEPAR, which, together with the scientific societies involved in COPD patient care, and the Spanish Patient Forum, has developed these new clinical practice guidelines. This present article describes the severity classification and the pharmacological treatment of stable COPD. GesEPOC identifies four clinical phenotypes with differential treatment: non-exacerbator, mixed COPD-asthma, exacerbator with emphysema and exacerbator with chronic bronchitis. Pharmacological treatment of COPD is based on bronchodilation in addition to other drugs depending on the clinical phenotype and severity. Severity is established by the BODE/BODEx multidimensional scales. Severity can also be approximated by assessing airflow obstruction, dyspnea, level of physical activity and history of exacerbations. GesEPOC is a new, more individualized approach to COPD treatment according to the clinical characteristics of the patients. Copyright © 2012 SEPAR. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.

                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
                02 June 2016
                : 11
                : 1171-1178
                [1 ]Unidad Médico-Quirúrgica de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS), Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío/Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain
                [2 ]Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
                [3 ]Hospital Universitario Puerta del Mar, Cádiz, Spain
                [4 ]Hospital Juan Ramón Jiménez, Huelva, Spain
                [5 ]Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Córdoba, Spain
                [6 ]Hospital Universitario San Cecilio, Granada, Spain
                [7 ]Hospital Infanta Margarita, Cabra, Córdoba, Spain
                [8 ]Hospital Torrecárdenas, Almería, Spain
                [9 ]Hospital Regional Universitario de Málaga, Spain
                [10 ]Hospital Universitario Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, Spain
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jose Luis López-Campos, Unidad Médico-Quirúrgica de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS), Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío/Universidad de Sevilla, Avda. Manuel Siurot, s/n, 41013, Seville, Spain, Email lcampos@
                © 2016 López-Campos et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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