Ideally, treatment recommendations for maintenance therapy-naïve patients with COPD should be based on studies conducted specifically in this population. We have reviewed evidence from previous studies of pharmacological treatments in maintenance therapy-naïve patients with COPD and performed a new post-hoc analysis of dual bronchodilator treatment in this population, aiming to assess the effectiveness of these interventions.
A literature review identified clinical trials that included analyses of patients with COPD who were maintenance therapy-naïve with long-acting β 2-agonists (LABA) or long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMA). Additionally, a post-hoc subgroup analysis was conducted for maintenance therapy-naïve patients with COPD in two large phase III, randomized, double-blind, 24-week trials investigating the efficacy of aclidinium bromide/formoterol fumarate (AB/FF) fixed-dose combination versus monotherapy or placebo (ACLIFORM [NCT01462942] and AUGMENT [NCT01437397]).
Treatment-naïve patients with COPD often represent a population of patients at the earliest stage at which most patients seek treatment. Of nine relevant studies identified, all reported positive findings for efficacy of LABA, LAMA, or LABA/LAMA treatment in maintenance therapy-naïve populations. Improvements were observed in lung function, symptoms, and health status versus monotherapy or placebo. Post-hoc analysis of ACLIFORM and AUGMENT demonstrated that AB/FF was effective in improving lung function in patients who had received no prior maintenance therapy. AB/FF showed improvements in 1 hr post-dose FEV 1, trough FEV 1, and patient-reported outcomes versus placebo and monotherapies. Combined with reviews of previous studies in maintenance therapy-naïve patients, these findings suggest that earlier intervention with a dual bronchodilator maintenance therapy, such as AB/FF, may provide significantly greater benefits than LAMA or LABA mono-bronchodilator therapy as a first maintenance treatment for COPD.