Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common disease in the general population and it places a considerable burden on patients, with the disease negatively affecting quality of life. In practice, patients with COPD generally seek medical attention because of symptoms, particularly breathlessness, and the resulting physical limitations, which affect the health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) in patients. The defining feature of COPD is airflow limitation that causes air trapping and increased hyperinflation as the ventilation rate increases during physical effort. Hyperinflation causes or worsens breathlessness as breathing becomes inefficient, with the end result being an avoidance of physical exertion and a cycle of increasing dyspnea caused by inactivity and deconditioning, with deleterious effects on HR-QOL. Current published guidelines for COPD state that the goals of pharmacologic therapy should be to control symptoms, improve health status and exercise tolerance, and reduce the frequency of COPD exacerbations. Effective and sustained bronchodilation has emerged as a key strategy for improving dyspnea and ability to exercise. As there is no cure for COPD, a major goal of treatment and of research into new therapies is to improve HR-QOL in COPD patients.
More recently, indacaterol, an inhaled ultra-long-acting β 2-agonist (24-hour action), has been approved in many countries at different doses (between 75 and 300 μg once daily) for treatment of patients with stable but symptomatic COPD. The aim of this review was to explore once-daily indacaterol clinical data as related to improvement in HR-QOL in COPD. Indacaterol studies have shown significant improvements in lung function of COPD patients, and these improvements have also translated into clinically meaningful improvements in patient symptoms and HR-QOL.