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      The effect of COPD severity and study duration on exacerbation outcome in randomized controlled trials

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          Abstract

          Background

          When discontinuation in COPD randomized controlled trials (RCTs) is unevenly distributed between treatments (differential dropout), the capacity to demonstrate treatment effects may be reduced. We investigated the impact of the time of differential dropout on exacerbation outcomes in RCTs, in relation to study duration and COPD severity.

          Methods

          A post hoc analysis of 2,345 patients from three RCTs of 6- and 12-month duration was performed to compare budesonide/formoterol and formoterol in moderate, severe, and very severe COPD. Outcomes were exacerbation rate, time-to-first exacerbation, or discontinuation; patients were stratified by disease severity. Outcomes were studied by censoring data monthly from 1 to 12 months.

          Results

          In patients treated with budesonide/formoterol, annualized exacerbation rates (AERs) were comparable for each study duration (rate ratio [RR] =0.6). With formoterol, the AER decreased with study duration (RR =1.20 at 1 month to RR =0.86 at 12 months). There was a treatment-related difference in exacerbation rates of 45%–48% for shorter study durations (≤4 months) and 27% for 12-month duration. This treatment-related difference in exacerbation rates was comparable for the three disease severities in studies ≤4 months (range: 39%–51%), but this difference decreased with longer study durations, especially in more severe groups (22% and 29% at 12 months). There were fewer discontinuations with budesonide/formoterol; the treatment-related difference in time-to-first discontinuation decreased by study duration (35%, 30%, 26%, and 22% at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, respectively). Numbers of differential dropouts increased with increasing disease severity, being greatest during second, third, and fourth months.

          Conclusions

          COPD severity and study duration impact exacerbation as an outcome in double-blind RCTs. This effect is most obvious in patients with severe/very severe COPD and in studies that are longer than 4 months. Early differential dropout particularly impacts study outcome, producing a “healthy survivor effect,” which reduces estimations of treatment impact on exacerbations.

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          Most cited references 12

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          Effect of tiotropium on outcomes in patients with moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (UPLIFT): a prespecified subgroup analysis of a randomised controlled trial.

          The beneficial effects of pharmacotherapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are well established. However, there are few data for treatment in the early stages of the disease. We examined the effect of tiotropium on outcomes in a large subgroup of patients with moderate COPD. The Understanding Potential Long-Term Impacts on Function with Tiotropium (UPLIFT) study was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial undertaken in 487 centres in 37 countries. 5993 patients aged 40 years or more with COPD were randomly assigned to receive 4 years of treatment with either once daily tiotropium (18 microg; n=2987) or matching placebo (n=3006), delivered by an inhalation device. Randomisation was by computer-generated blocks of four, with stratification according to study site. In a prespecified subgroup analysis, we investigated the effects of tiotropium in patients with Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stage II disease. Primary endpoints were the yearly rates of decline in prebronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) and in postbronchodilator FEV(1), beginning on day 30 until completion of double-blind treatment. The analysis included all patients who had at least three measurements of pulmonary function. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00144339. 2739 participants (mean age 64 years [SD 9]) had GOLD stage II disease at randomisation (tiotropium, n=1384; control, n=1355), with a mean postbronchodilator FEV(1) of 1.63 L (SD 0.37; 59% of predicted value). 1218 patients in the tiotropium group and 1157 in the control group had three or more measurements of postbronchodilator pulmonary function after day 30 and were included in the analysis. The rate of decline of mean postbronchodilator FEV(1) was lower in the tiotropium group than in the control group (43 mL per year [SE 2] vs 49 mL per year [SE 2], p=0.024). For prebronchodilator pulmonary function, 1221 patients in the tiotropium group and 1158 in the control group had three or more measurements and were included in the analysis. The rate of decline of mean prebronchodilator FEV(1) did not differ between groups (35 mL per year [SE 2] vs 37 mL per year [SE 2]; p=0.38). Health status, measured with the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire, was better at all timepoints in the tiotropium group than in the control group (p
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            Blood eosinophil count and exacerbations in severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease after withdrawal of inhaled corticosteroids: a post-hoc analysis of the WISDOM trial

            Blood eosinophil counts might predict response to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a history of exacerbations. We used data from the WISDOM trial to assess whether patients with COPD with higher blood eosinophil counts would be more likely to have exacerbations if ICS treatment was withdrawn.
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              Efficacy of salmeterol/fluticasone propionate by GOLD stage of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: analysis from the randomised, placebo-controlled TORCH study

              Background The efficacy of inhaled salmeterol plus fluticasone propionate (SFC) in patients with severe or very severe COPD is well documented. However, there are only limited data about the influence of GOLD severity staging on the effectiveness of SFC, particularly in patients with milder disease. Methods TORCH was a 3-year, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 6112 patients with moderate/severe COPD with pre-bronchodilator FEV1 < 60% predicted (mean age 65 years, 76% male, mean 44% predicted FEV1, 43% current smokers). To understand the relative efficacy of SFC and its components by GOLD stages, we conducted a post-hoc analysis of the TORCH dataset using baseline post-bronchodilator FEV1 to segment patients into three groups: moderate COPD (GOLD stage II and above: ≥ 50%; n = 2156), severe COPD (GOLD stage III: 30% to < 50%; n = 3019) and very severe COPD (GOLD stage IV: < 30%; n = 937). Results Compared with placebo, SFC improved post-bronchodilator FEV1: 101 ml (95% confidence interval [CI]: 71, 132) in GOLD stage II, 82 ml (95% CI: 60, 104) in GOLD stage III and 96 ml (95% CI: 54, 138) in GOLD stage IV patients, and reduced the rate of exacerbations: 31% (95% CI: 19, 40) in GOLD stage II, 26% (95% CI: 17, 34) in GOLD stage III and 14% (95% CI: -4, 29) in GOLD stage IV. SFC improved health status to a greater extent than other treatments regardless of baseline GOLD stage. Similarly, SFC reduced the risk of death by 33% (hazard ratio [HR] 0.67; 95% CI: 0.45, 0.98) for GOLD stage II, 5% (HR 0.95; 95% CI: 0.73, 1.24) for GOLD stage III, and 30% (HR 0.70; 95% CI: 0.47, 1.05) for GOLD stage IV. The rates of adverse events were similar across treatment arms and increased with disease severity. Overall, there was a higher incidence of pneumonia in the fluticasone propionate and SFC arms, compared with other treatments in all GOLD stages. Conclusion In the TORCH study, SFC reduced moderate-to-severe exacerbations and improved health status and FEV1 across GOLD stages. Treatment with SFC may be associated with reduced mortality compared with placebo in patients with GOLD stage II disease. The effects were similar to those reported for the study as a whole. Thus, SFC is an effective treatment option for patients with GOLD stage II COPD. Trial registration Clinicaltrial.gov registration NCT00268216; Study number: SCO30003
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                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
                1176-9106
                1178-2005
                2017
                15 May 2017
                : 12
                : 1457-1468
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden
                [2 ]Pulmonary and Rehabilitation Research Group, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, UK
                [3 ]Concord Clinical School, University of Sydney
                [4 ]The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia
                [5 ]Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care, University of Texas Health Sciences Center and South Texas Veterans’ Health Care System, San Antonio, Texas
                [6 ]Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, National Jewish Health, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA
                [7 ]AstraZeneca R&D, Mölndal, Sweden
                [8 ]Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis, University Medical Center Groningen, GRIAC Research Institute, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Göran Eriksson, Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Skane University Hospital, Klinikgatan 18, 222 42 Lund, Sweden, Tel +46 73 329 9929, Email goran.eriksson@ 123456med.lu.se
                Article
                copd-12-1457
                10.2147/COPD.S130713
                5440002
                © 2017 Eriksson et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). 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.

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