Clinical studies have suggested nebulized budesonide (NB) as an alternative to systemic corticosteroids for patients with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD). However, the optimal budesonide dose for AECOPD remains unclear.
A total of 321 AECOPD patients with moderate-to-severe exacerbation were randomly divided into three groups and treated with NB. The low dose group (L) was given 4 mg/day (n=95, 1 mg Q6h), while high-dose group 1 (H1, n=111, 2 mg Q6h) and high-dose group 2 (H2, n=115, 4 mg Q12h) were given 8 mg/day. Patients also received routine treatment including oxygen therapy, expectorant, nebulization bronchodilators, antibiotics, and fluid rehydration. The COPD assessment test (CAT), lung function, and artery blood gas were evaluated before and after 3 hrs and 5 days of treatment. In addition, hospital stay, frequency of acute exacerbations within 3 months of discharge, and adverse events during treatment were compared.
H1 and H2 showed improved spirograms and CAT score faster than L. In H2, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV 1%) at 3 hrs and FEV 1%, forced expiratory flow after 50% of the forced vital capacity has been exhaled (FEF 50%), mean forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75% of forced vital capacity (FEF 25–75%) and CAT score at 5 days were significantly improved compared to L. FEV 1% improved most in H2, moderately in H1, and least in L, with significant differences between groups at 5 days. No differences between groups were observed in adverse effects, hospital stay, and frequency of exacerbations within 3 months of discharge.