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      Comparison of Characteristics Between ICS-Treated COPD Patients and ICS-Treated COPD Patients with Concomitant Asthma: A Study in Primary Care

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          Background and Objective

          Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) for COPD has been much debated. Our aim was to identify characteristics associated with prescribing ICS for patients with COPD alone compared to those with concomitant asthma in general practice.

          Patients and Methods

          Participating general practitioners (GPs) (n=144) recruited patients with COPD (ICPC 2nd ed. code R95) currently prescribed ICS (ACT code R03AK and R03BA). Data, if available, on demographics, smoking habits, spirometry, COPD medication, dyspnea score, and exacerbation history were retrieved from the medical records. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify possible differences in characteristics between patients with COPD alone compared to those having a concomitant diagnosis of asthma.


          A total of 2.289 (45% males) COPD patients on ICS were recruited. Compared to patients with COPD alone (n=1.749), those with COPD and concomitant asthma (n=540) were younger (p<0.001), had higher BMI, higher FEV 1/FVC ratio, higher blood eosinophil count and less life-time tobacco exposure (36 and 26 pack-years, respectively). Compared to COPD alone, logistic regression analysis showed that COPD with concomitant asthma was significantly associated to age (OR 0.94; CI 0.92 to 0.97; p<0.001), pack-years of smoking (OR 0.98; CI 0.97 to 0.99; p<0.001), %pred (OR 1.02; CI 1.00 to 1.03; p=0.005), and doctor-diagnosed depression (OR 2.59; CI 1.20 to 5.58; p=0.015).


          In COPD patients currently prescribed ICS, the presence of concomitant asthma was associated with being younger, having less tobacco exposure, more preserved lung function and a higher likelihood of doctor-diagnosed depression compared to COPD alone.

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          Most cited references 19

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          The Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome.

          Although in textbooks asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are viewed as distinct disorders, there is increasing awareness that many patients have features of both. This article reviews the asthma-COPD overlap syndrome.
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            Predictors of exacerbation risk and response to budesonide in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a post-hoc analysis of three randomised trials.

            The peripheral blood eosinophil count might help identify those patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who will experience fewer exacerbations when taking inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Previous post-hoc analyses have proposed eosinophil cutoffs that are both arbitrary and limited in evaluating complex interactions of treatment response. We modelled eosinophil count as a continuous variable to determine the characteristics that determine both exacerbation risk and clinical response to ICS in patients with COPD.
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              Efficacy of a new once-daily long-acting inhaled beta2-agonist indacaterol versus twice-daily formoterol in COPD.

              Indacaterol is a long-acting inhaled beta(2)-agonist (LABA) for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In previous studies, indacaterol provided 24 h bronchodilation on once-daily dosing with a fast onset of action. This study compared the efficacy and safety of indacaterol with the twice-daily LABA formoterol and placebo over 1 year. Patients with moderate to severe COPD were randomised to receive once-daily indacaterol 300 microg (n=437) or 600 microg (n=428), twice-daily formoterol 12 microg (n=435) or placebo (n=432) for 52 weeks in a double-blind double-dummy parallel group study. The primary efficacy variable was forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) measured 24 h postdose after 12 weeks (indacaterol vs placebo). Other outcomes included dyspnoea (transition dyspnoea index, TDI), use of as-needed salbutamol, symptom-based measures recorded on diary cards, exacerbations, health status (St George's Respiratory Questionnaire), BODE index (body mass index, obstruction, dyspnoea, exercise), safety and tolerability. Indacaterol increased 24 h postdose FEV(1) after 12 weeks by 170 ml (both doses) versus placebo and by 100 ml versus formoterol (all p<0.001). These significant differences were maintained at 52 weeks. Symptomatic outcomes were improved compared with placebo with all active treatments, and indacaterol was more effective than formoterol in improving TDI score and reducing the need for as-needed salbutamol. Indacaterol was well tolerated and had a good overall safety profile, including minimal impact on QTc interval and systemic beta(2)-mediated events. Once-daily indacaterol is an effective 24 h bronchodilator that improves symptoms and health status and confers clinical improvements over a twice-daily 12 h LABA as a treatment for patients with moderate to severe COPD. NCT 00393458.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                28 April 2020
                : 15
                : 931-937
                [1 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Hvidovre Hospital , Hvidovre, Denmark
                [2 ]Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen , Copenhagen,Denmark
                [3 ]Værløse Lægehus , Værløse, Denmark
                [4 ]Lægehuset Remisen , Præstø, Denmark
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Charlotte Suppli Ulrik Respiratory Research Unit, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Hvidovre Hospital , HvidovreDK-2650, Denmark Email
                © 2020 Savran 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. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 4, References: 36, Pages: 7
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                copd, concomitant asthma, inhaled corticosteroids (ics), general practice


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