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      Medication management patterns among Medicare beneficiaries with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who initiate nebulized arformoterol treatment

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          Purpose: Global evidence-based treatment strategies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) recommend using long-acting bronchodilators (LABDs) as maintenance therapy. However, COPD patients are often undertreated. We examined COPD treatment patterns among Medicare beneficiaries who initiated arformoterol tartrate, a nebulized long-acting beta 2 agonist (LABA), and identified the predictors of initiation.

          Methods: Using a 100% sample of Medicare administrative data, we identified beneficiaries with a COPD diagnosis (ICD-9 490–492.xx, 494.xx, 496.xx) between 2010 and 2014 who had ≥1 year of continuous enrollment in Parts A, B, and D, and ≥2 COPD-related outpatient visits within 30 days or ≥1 hospitalization(s). After applying inclusion/exclusion criteria, three cohorts were identified: (1) study group beneficiaries who received nebulized arformoterol (n=11,886), (2) a subset of the study group with no LABD use 90 days prior to initiating arformoterol (n=5,542), and (3) control group beneficiaries with no nebulized LABA use (n=220,429). Logistic regression was used to evaluate predictors of arformoterol initiation. Odds ratios (ORs), 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and p values were computed.

          Results: Among arformoterol users, 47% (n=5,542) had received no LABDs 90 days prior to initiating arformoterol. These beneficiaries were being treated with a nebulized (50%) or inhaled (37%) short-acting bronchodilator or a systemic corticosteroid (46%), and many received antibiotics (37%). Compared to controls, beneficiaries who initiated arformoterol were significantly more likely to have had an exacerbation, a COPD-related hospitalization, and a pulmonologist or respiratory therapist visit prior to initiation (all p<0.05). Beneficiaries with moderate/severe psychiatric comorbidity or dual-eligible status were significantly less likely to initiate arformoterol, as compared to controls (all p<0.05).

          Conclusion: Medicare beneficiaries who initiated nebulized arformoterol therapy had more exacerbations and hospitalizations than controls 90 days prior to initiation. Findings revealed inadequate use of maintenance medications, suggesting a lack of compliance with evidence-based treatment guidelines.

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          Most cited references 65

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          Diagnosis and management of stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a clinical practice guideline update from the American College of Physicians, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society, and European Respiratory Society.

          This guideline is an official statement of the American College of Physicians (ACP), American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), American Thoracic Society (ATS), and European Respiratory Society (ERS). It represents an update of the 2007 ACP clinical practice guideline on diagnosis and management of stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is intended for clinicians who manage patients with COPD. This guideline addresses the value of history and physical examination for predicting airflow obstruction; the value of spirometry for screening or diagnosis of COPD; and COPD management strategies, specifically evaluation of various inhaled therapies (anticholinergics, long-acting β-agonists, and corticosteroids), pulmonary rehabilitation programs, and supplemental oxygen therapy. This guideline is based on a targeted literature update from March 2007 to December 2009 to evaluate the evidence and update the 2007 ACP clinical practice guideline on diagnosis and management of stable COPD. RECOMMENDATION 1: ACP, ACCP, ATS, and ERS recommend that spirometry should be obtained to diagnose airflow obstruction in patients with respiratory symptoms (Grade: strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence). Spirometry should not be used to screen for airflow obstruction in individuals without respiratory symptoms (Grade: strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence). RECOMMENDATION 2: For stable COPD patients with respiratory symptoms and FEV(1) between 60% and 80% predicted, ACP, ACCP, ATS, and ERS suggest that treatment with inhaled bronchodilators may be used (Grade: weak recommendation, low-quality evidence). RECOMMENDATION 3: For stable COPD patients with respiratory symptoms and FEV(1) 50% predicted. (Grade: weak recommendation, moderate-quality evidence). RECOMMENDATION 7: ACP, ACCP, ATS, and ERS recommend that clinicians should prescribe continuous oxygen therapy in patients with COPD who have severe resting hypoxemia (Pao(2) ≤55 mm Hg or Spo(2) ≤88%) (Grade: strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence).
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            Comorbidities, patient knowledge, and disease management in a national sample of patients with COPD.

            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States but is often undertreated. COPD often overlaps with other conditions such as hypertension and osteoporosis, which are less morbid but may be treated more aggressively. We evaluated the prevalence of these comorbid conditions and compared testing, patient knowledge, and management in a national sample of patients with COPD. A survey was administered by telephone in 2006 to 1003 patients with COPD to evaluate the prevalence of comorbid conditions, diagnostic testing, knowledge, and management using standardized instruments. The completion rate was 87%. Among 1003 patients with COPD, 61% reported moderate or severe dyspnea and 41% reported a prior hospitalization for COPD. The most prevalent comorbid diagnoses were hypertension (55%), hypercholesterolemia (52%), depression (37%), cataracts (31%), and osteoporosis (28%). Only 10% of respondents knew their forced expiratory volume in 1 second (95% confidence interval [CI], 8-12) compared with 79% who knew their blood pressure (95% CI, 76-83). Seventy-two percent (95% CI, 69-75) reported taking any medication for COPD, usually a short-acting bronchodilator, whereas 87% (95% CI, 84-90) of patients with COPD and hypertension were taking an antihypertensive medication and 72% (95% CI, 68-75) of patients with COPD and hypercholesterolemia were taking a statin. Although most patients with COPD in this national sample were symptomatic and many had been hospitalized for COPD, COPD self-knowledge was low and COPD was undertreated compared with generally asymptomatic, less morbid conditions such as hypertension.
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              A review of national guidelines for management of COPD in Europe

              The quality of care can be improved by the development and implementation of evidence-based treatment guidelines. Different national guidelines for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exist in Europe and relevant differences may exist among them. This was an evaluation of COPD treatment guidelines published in Europe and Russia in the past 7 years. Each guideline was reviewed in detail and information about the most important aspects of patient diagnosis, risk stratification and pharmacotherapy was extracted following a standardised process. Guidelines were available from the Czech Republic, England and Wales, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden. The treatment goals, criteria for COPD diagnosis, consideration of comorbidities in treatment selection and support for use of long-acting bronchodilators, were similar across treatment guidelines. There were differences in measures used for stratification of disease severity, consideration of patient phenotypes, criteria for the use of inhaled corticosteroids and recommendations for other medications (e.g. theophylline and mucolytics) in addition to bronchodilators. There is generally good agreement on treatment goals, criteria for diagnosis of COPD and use of long-acting bronchodilators as the cornerstone of treatment among guidelines for COPD management in Europe and Russia. However, there are differences in the definitions of patient subgroups and other recommended treatments.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                15 May 2019
                : 14
                : 1019-1031
                [1 ]Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Center, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital , Boston, MA, USA
                [2 ]Global Strategy, Advance Health Solutions, LLC , New York, NY, USA
                [3 ]School of Professional Studies, Columbia University , New York, NY, USA
                [4 ]Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California San Diego , La Jolla, CA, USA
                [5 ]Global Health Economics and Outcomes Research, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc , Marlborough, MA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Maryam NavaieGlobal Strategy Advance Health Solutions, LLC , 5 Penn Plaza, Floor 23, New York, NY, USATel +1 212 835 1510Fax +1 212 849 6901Email mnavaie@
                © 2019 Celli 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: 4, Tables: 4, References: 78, Pages: 13
                Original Research


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