Background: There are currently limited real-world data on the clinical burden of illness in patients with COPD who continue to exacerbate despite receiving triple therapy. The aim of this study was to compare the burden of COPD in patients with and without a phenotype characterized by a high blood eosinophil count and high risk of exacerbations while receiving triple therapy.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study (GSK ID: 207323/PRJ2647) used UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink records linked with Hospital Episode Statistics. Eligible patients had a COPD medical diagnosis code recorded between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2014, and a blood eosinophil count recorded on/after that date. Patients were followed from index date (first qualifying blood eosinophil count) until December 31, 2015. The study phenotype was defined as ≥2 moderate/≥1 severe acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD) in the year prior to the index date, current use of multiple-inhaler triple therapy (MITT), and blood eosinophil count ≥150 cells/µL on the index date. Outcomes measured during follow-up included moderate/severe AECOPDs, severe AECOPDs, all-cause mortality, primary care (GP) clinical consultations, and non-AECOPD-related unscheduled hospitalizations.
Results: Of 46,814 patients eligible for inclusion, 2512 (5.4%) met the definition of the study phenotype. Adjusted rate ratios (95% CI) of moderate/severe AECOPDs and all-cause mortality in patients with the study phenotype versus those without were 2.32 (2.22, 2.43) and 1.26 (1.16, 1.37), respectively. For GP visits and non-AECOPD-related unscheduled hospitalizations, adjusted rate ratios (95% CI), in patients with the study phenotype versus those without, were 1.09 (1.05, 1.12) and 1.31 (1.18, 1.46), respectively.
Conclusion: Patients with COPD and raised blood eosinophil counts who continue to exacerbate despite MITT represent a distinct subgroup who experience substantial clinical burden and account for high healthcare expenditure. There is a need for more effective management and therapeutic options for these patients.