+1 Recommend
1 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Inhaled corticosteroids for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: what is their role in therapy?

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          Inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) are a mainstay of COPD treatment for patients with a history of exacerbations. Initial studies evaluating their use as monotherapy failed to show an effect on rate of pulmonary function decline in COPD, despite improvements in symptoms and reductions in exacerbations. Subsequently, ICS use in combination with long-acting β 2-agonists (LABAs) was shown to provide improved reductions in exacerbations, lung function, and health status. ICS-LABA combination therapy is currently recommended for patients with a history of exacerbations despite treatment with long-acting bronchodilators alone. The presence of eosinophilic bronchial inflammation, detected by high blood eosinophil levels or a history of asthma or asthma–COPD overlap, may define a population of patients in whom ICSs may be of particular benefit. Prospective clinical studies to determine an appropriate threshold of eosinophil levels for predicting the beneficial effects of ICSs are needed. Further study is also required in COPD patients who continue to smoke to assess the impact of cell- and tissue-specific changes on ICS responsiveness. The safety profile of ICSs in COPD patients is confounded by comorbidities, age, and prior use of systemic corticosteroids. The risk of pneumonia in patients with COPD is increased, particularly with more advanced age and worse disease severity. ICS-containing therapy also has been shown to increase pneumonia risk; however, differences in study design and the definition of pneumonia events have led to substantial variability in risk estimates, and some data indicate that pneumonia risk may differ by the specific ICS used. In summary, treatment with ICSs has a role in dual and triple therapy for COPD to reduce exacerbations and improve symptoms. Careful assessment of COPD phenotypes related to risk factors, triggers, and comorbidities may assist in individualizing treatment while maximizing the benefit-to-risk ratio of ICS-containing COPD treatment.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 72

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Immunology of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

           Peter Barnes (2008)
          Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are both obstructive airway diseases that involve chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract, but the type of inflammation is markedly different between these diseases, with different patterns of inflammatory cells and mediators being involved. As described in this Review, these inflammatory profiles are largely determined by the involvement of different immune cells, which orchestrate the recruitment and activation of inflammatory cells that drive the distinct patterns of structural changes in these diseases. However, it is now becoming clear that the distinction between these diseases becomes blurred in patients with severe asthma, in asthmatic subjects who smoke and during acute exacerbations. This has important implications for the development of new therapies.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: molecular and cellular mechanisms.

            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a leading cause of death and disability, but has only recently been extensively explored from a cellular and molecular perspective. There is a chronic inflammation that leads to fixed narrowing of small airways and alveolar wall destruction (emphysema). This is characterised by increased numbers of alveolar macrophages, neutrophils and cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, and the release of multiple inflammatory mediators (lipids, chemokines, cytokines, growth factors). A high level of oxidative stress may amplify this inflammation. There is also increased elastolysis and evidence for involvement of several elastolytic enzymes, including serine proteases, cathepsins and matrix metalloproteinases. The inflammation and proteolysis in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is an amplification of the normal inflammatory response to cigarette smoke. This inflammation, in marked contrast to asthma, appears to be resistant to corticosteroids, prompting a search for novel anti-inflammatory therapies that may prevent the relentless progression of the disease.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study of fluticasone propionate in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the ISOLDE trial.

              To determine the effect of long term inhaled corticosteroids on lung function, exacerbations, and health status in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Double blind, placebo controlled study. Eighteen UK hospitals. 751 men and women aged between 40 and 75 years with mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1)) 50% of predicted normal. Inhaled fluticasone propionate 500 microgram twice daily from a metered dose inhaler or identical placebo. Efficacy measures: rate of decline in FEV(1) after the bronchodilator and in health status, frequency of exacerbations, respiratory withdrawals. Safety measures: morning serum cortisol concentration, incidence of adverse events. There was no significant difference in the annual rate of decline in FEV(1 )(P=0.16). Mean FEV(1) after bronchodilator remained significantly higher throughout the study with fluticasone propionate compared with placebo (P<0.001). Median exacerbation rate was reduced by 25% from 1.32 a year on placebo to 0.99 a year on with fluticasone propionate (P=0.026). Health status deteriorated by 3.2 units a year on placebo and 2.0 units a year on fluticasone propionate (P=0.0043). Withdrawals because of respiratory disease not related to malignancy were higher in the placebo group (25% v 19%, P=0.034). Fluticasone propionate 500 microgram twice daily did not affect the rate of decline in FEV(1) but did produce a small increase in FEV(1). Patients on fluticasone propionate had fewer exacerbations and a slower decline in health status. These improvements in clinical outcomes support the use of this treatment in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

                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
                27 August 2018
                : 13
                : 2587-2601
                [1 ]Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA, dtashkin@
                [2 ]Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Donald P Tashkin, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA, Tel +1 310 825 3163, Fax +1 310 206 5088, Email dtashkin@
                © 2018 Tashkin and Strange. 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.


                Respiratory medicine

                pneumonia, safety, dual/triple therapy, bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, copd


                Comment on this article