Marc Miravitlles , 1 , Borja G. Cosío 2 , 3 , Aurelio Arnedillo 4 , 5 , Myriam Calle 6 , 7 , Bernardino Alcázar-Navarrete 8 , Cruz González 9 , Cristóbal Esteban 10 , 11 , Juan Antonio Trigueros 12 , José Miguel Rodríguez González-Moro 13 , José Antonio Quintano Jiménez 14 , Adolfo Baloira 15
28 November 2017
According to the current clinical practice guidelines for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the addition of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) to long-acting β 2 agonist therapy is recommended in patients with moderate-to-severe disease and an increased risk of exacerbations. However, ICS are largely overprescribed in clinical practice, and most patients are unlikely to benefit from long-term ICS therapy.
Evidence from recent randomized-controlled trials supports the hypothesis that ICS can be safely and effectively discontinued in patients with stable COPD and in whom ICS therapy may not be indicated, without detrimental effects on lung function, health status, or risk of exacerbations. This article summarizes the evidence supporting the discontinuation of ICS therapy, and proposes an algorithm for the implementation of ICS withdrawal in patients with COPD in clinical practice.
Given the increased risk of potentially serious adverse effects and complications with ICS therapy (including pneumonia), the use of ICS should be limited to the minority of patients in whom the treatment effects outweigh the risks.