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      Treatment patterns of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in employed adults in the United States

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          This study evaluated patterns of pharmacotherapy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as they relate to recommended guidelines in a prevalent COPD patient population with employer-sponsored health insurance in the US.


          Health care claims data from 2007 and 2008 were retrospectively analyzed for the study population defined as patients aged 40 years and older, continuously enrolled during the study period, and having at least one inpatient or one emergency department (ED) visit, or at least two outpatient claims coded with COPD (International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification code 491.xx, 492.xx, 496.xx). Rates of any pharmacotherapy (both maintenance and reliever), long-acting maintenance pharmacotherapy in patients with an exacerbation history, and short-term treatment of acute exacerbations of COPD were evaluated in the overall population, newly diagnosed, and previously diagnosed patients (including maintenance-naïve and maintenance-experienced). Stratified analyses were also conducted by age group (40–64 years, ≥65 years) and physician specialty.


          A total of 55,361 patients met study criteria of whom 39% were newly diagnosed. The mean age was 66 years, and 46% were male. Three-fourths (74%) of all COPD patients had some pharmacotherapy (maintenance or reliever) with less than half (45%) being treated with maintenance medications. The combination of an inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting beta-agonist was the most prevalent drug class for maintenance treatment followed by tiotropium. Only 64% of patients with an exacerbation history had a prescription for a long-acting maintenance medication, and short-term treatment with oral corticosteroids or antibiotics was higher for hospitalization exacerbations compared to ED visit exacerbations (68% vs 44%). In general, the rates of pharmacotherapy were highest in patients who were maintenance-experienced followed by newly diagnosed and maintenance-naïve.


          The majority of COPD patients received maintenance or reliever COPD medications, but less than half received guideline-recommended care, especially those with an exacerbation history or receiving short-term treatment for acute exacerbations.

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          Most cited references 13

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          Effects of smoking intervention and the use of an inhaled anticholinergic bronchodilator on the rate of decline of FEV1. The Lung Health Study.

          To determine whether a program incorporating smoking intervention and use of an inhaled bronchodilator can slow the rate of decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) in smokers aged 35 to 60 years who have mild obstructive pulmonary disease. Randomized clinical trial. Participants randomized with equal probability to one of the following groups: (1) smoking intervention plus bronchodilator, (2) smoking intervention plus placebo, or (3) no intervention. Ten clinical centers in the United States and Canada. A total of 5887 male and female smokers, aged 35 to 60 years, with spirometric signs of early chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Smoking intervention: intensive 12-session smoking cessation program combining behavior modification and use of nicotine gum, with continuing 5-year maintenance program to minimize relapse. Bronchodilator: ipratropium bromide prescribed three times daily (two puffs per time) from a metered-dose inhaler. Rate of change and cumulative change in FEV1 over a 5-year period. Participants in the two smoking intervention groups showed significantly smaller declines in FEV1 than did those in the control group. Most of this difference occurred during the first year following entry into the study and was attributable to smoking cessation, with those who achieved sustained smoking cessation experiencing the largest benefit. The small noncumulative benefit associated with use of the active bronchodilator vanished after the bronchodilator was discontinued at the end of the study. An aggressive smoking intervention program significantly reduces the age-related decline in FEV1 in middle-aged smokers with mild airways obstruction. Use of an inhaled anticholinergic bronchodilator results in a relatively small improvement in FEV1 that appears to be reversed after the drug is discontinued. Use of the bronchodilator did not influence the long-term decline of FEV1.
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            Global strategy for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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              Quality of care for patients hospitalized for acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

              Acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is 1 of the 10 leading causes of hospitalization among adults in the United States. To evaluate the quality of care provided to patients hospitalized for acute exacerbations of COPD and to determine whether hospital or patient characteristics influence treatment. Retrospective cohort study. 360 hospitals throughout the United States. 69,820 patients hospitalized for acute exacerbations of COPD. Adherence to diagnosis and treatment recommendations contained in guidelines produced by the American College of Physicians and the American College of Chest Physicians; analyses of associations between hospital and patient characteristics and composite measures of performance. Of the 69,820 patients, 66,276 (95%) underwent chest radiography, 63,715 (91%) received supplemental oxygen, 67 515 (97%) received bronchodilators, 59,240 (85%) received systemic steroids, and 59,053 (85%) were given antibiotics. In total, 45,800 (66%) received this entire set of recommended care processes. Numerous participants received tests or treatments that were not beneficial: 16,607 (24%) were treated with methylxanthine bronchodilators, 10,051 (14%) had sputum testing, 8354 (12%) underwent acute spirometry, 4299 (6%) had chest physiotherapy, and 1409 (2%) were treated with mucolytic medications. Overall, 31,519 patients (45%) received at least 1 of these nonrecommended care elements, and 22,929 (33%) received ideal care, defined as all of the recommended care processes and none of the nonrecommended ones. Individual hospital performance varied widely; whereas older patients and women were more likely to receive ideal care than their counterparts, a higher annual volume of admissions for COPD was not associated with improved hospital performance. The study used administrative data, not chart review, and was limited to the inpatient management of COPD. The quality of care for patients hospitalized for acute exacerbations of COPD may be improved by increasing the use of systemic corticosteroid and antibiotic therapy, decreasing the use of unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments, and reducing variation in practice across hospitals.

                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
                24 February 2015
                : 10
                : 415-422
                [1 ]Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
                [2 ]GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
                [3 ]Xcenda, Palm Harbor, FL, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Orsolya E Lunacsek, Xcenda, LLC, 4114 Woodlands Parkway, Suite 500, Palm Harbor, FL 34685, USA, Tel +1 727 771 4100, Fax +1 727 771 4145, Email orsolya.lunacsek@
                © 2015 Diette et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                copd, pharmacotherapy, maintenance treatment, exacerbations


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