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.
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).