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      The burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease associated with maintenance monotherapy in the UK

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          This study characterized a cohort of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients on maintenance bronchodilator monotherapy for ≥6 months to establish their disease burden, measured by health care utilization.


          Data were extracted from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink and linked to Hospital Episode Statistics. The monotherapy period spanned the first prescription of a long-acting β 2-adrenergic agonist or a long-acting muscarinic antagonist until the end of the study (December 31, 2013) or until step up to dual/triple therapy, for example, addition of another long-acting bronchodilator, an inhaled corticosteroid, or both. A minimum of four consecutive prescriptions and 6 months on continuous monotherapy were required. Patients <50 years old at first COPD diagnosis or with another significant respiratory disease before starting monotherapy were excluded. Disease burden was evaluated by measuring patients’ rate of face-to-face interactions with a health care professional (HCP), COPD-related exacerbations, hospitalizations, and referrals.


          A cohort of 8,811 COPD patients (95% Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage A/B) on maintenance monotherapy was identified between 2002 and 2013; 45% of these patients were still on monotherapy by the end of the study. Median time from first COPD diagnosis to first monotherapy prescription was 56 days, while the median time on maintenance bronchodilator monotherapy was 2 years. The median number of prescriptions was 14. On average, patients had 15 HCP interactions per year, and one in ten patients experienced a COPD exacerbation (N=8,811). One in 50 patients were hospitalized for COPD per year (n=4,848).


          The average monotherapy-treated patient had a higher than average HCP interaction rate. We also identified a large cohort of patients who were stepped up to triple therapy despite a low rate of exacerbations. The use of the new class of long-acting muscarinic antagonist/long-acting β 2-adrenergic agonist fixed-dose combinations may provide a useful step-up treatment option in such monotherapy patients, before the use of inhaled corticosteroids.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Global strategy for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. NHLBI/WHO Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) Workshop summary.

           ,  Suzanne Hurd,  P Calverley (2001)
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            Validity of diagnostic coding within the General Practice Research Database: a systematic review.

            The UK-based General Practice Research Database (GPRD) is a valuable source of longitudinal primary care records and is increasingly used for epidemiological research. To conduct a systematic review of the literature on accuracy and completeness of diagnostic coding in the GPRD. Systematic review. Six electronic databases were searched using search terms relating to the GPRD, in association with terms synonymous with validity, accuracy, concordance, and recording. A positive predictive value was calculated for each diagnosis that considered a comparison with a gold standard. Studies were also considered that compared the GPRD with other databases and national statistics. A total of 49 papers are included in this review. Forty papers conducted validation of a clinical diagnosis in the GPRD. When assessed against a gold standard (validation using GP questionnaire, primary care medical records, or hospital correspondence), most of the diagnoses were accurately recorded in the patient electronic record. Acute conditions were not as well recorded, with positive predictive values lower than 50%. Twelve papers compared prevalence or consultation rates in the GPRD against other primary care databases or national statistics. Generally, there was good agreement between disease prevalence and consultation rates between the GPRD and other datasets; however, rates of diabetes and musculoskeletal conditions were underestimated in the GPRD. Most of the diagnoses coded in the GPRD are well recorded. Researchers using the GPRD may want to consider how well the disease of interest is recorded before planning research, and consider how to optimise the identification of clinical events.
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              Recent advances in the utility and use of the General Practice Research Database as an example of a UK Primary Care Data resource.

              Since its inception in the mid-1980s, the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) has undergone many changes but remains the largest validated and most utilised primary care database in the UK. Its use in pharmacoepidemiology stretches back many years with now over 800 original research papers. Administered by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency since 2001, the last 5 years have seen a rebuild of the database processing system enhancing access to the data, and a concomitant push towards broadening the applications of the database. New methodologies including real-world harm-benefit assessment, pharmacogenetic studies and pragmatic randomised controlled trials within the database are being implemented. A substantive and unique linkage program (using a trusted third party) has enabled access to secondary care data and disease-specific registry data as well as socio-economic data and death registration data. The utility of anonymised free text accessed in a safe and appropriate manner is being explored using simple and more complex techniques such as natural language processing.

                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
                22 November 2016
                : 11
                : 2851-2858
                [1 ]Department of Market Access Pricing & Outcomes Research
                [2 ]Department of Medical Affairs -Respiratory
                [3 ]Department of Market Access
                [4 ]Department of Prescription Medicine - Respiratory, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bracknell, UK
                [5 ]Asthma and Allergy Research Group, Division of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Medicine, Scottish Centre for Respiratory Research, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Brian J Lipworth, Scottish Centre for Respiratory Research, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, DD1 9SY UK, Tel +44 1382 383 188, Fax +44 1382 644 972, Email b.j.lipworth@
                © 2016 Edwards et al. 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.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                monotherapy, copd, prescribing patterns, bronchodilators, uk primary care setting


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