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      Association Between Adherence to Maintenance Medication in Patients with COPD and Acute Exacerbation Occurrence and Cost in China: A Retrospective Cohort Database Study

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          This study aimed to evaluate the association between adherence to maintenance medication (ie, inhaled bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting beta-2 agonist [ICS/LABA] combinations, and oral therapy) and acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) and related costs among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in China.

          Patients and Methods

          Claims data from the hospitals of a metropolitan city in south China between January 2014 and December 2016 were obtained. Patients with COPD with ≥2 maintenance medication claims during 1 year were included. Adherence was measured by the proportion of days covered (PDC). The interaction of medication class×adherence was considered when building models.


          A total of 11,708 patients met the inclusion criteria, of whom 10.8% were highly adherent (PDC≥0.8). There were significant interaction effects of drug category on hospitalized AECOPD risk (P≤0.001), hospitalized AECOPD rate (P<0.001), and 1-year hospitalized AECOPD treatment costs (P=0.012). There was a relationship between high adherence and outcomes for ICS/LABA combinations (n=3,419), ie, relative risk of hospitalized AECOPD was reduced by 34.8% (adjusted odds ratio=0.65; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.54–0.79; P<0.001) while the frequency of hospitalized AECOPD per patient-year was reduced by 24.4% (adjusted rate ratio=0.76; 95% CI: 0.65 to 0.87; P<0.001). Mean 1-year per-patient hospitalized AECOPD costs were reduced by 37.8% (mean difference=−848 USD; 95% CI: −1435–262 USD; P<0.001). Patients taking oral mucolytics and having high adherence had worse AECOPD outcomes than patients with poor adherence.


          High adherence to ICS/LABA maintenance therapy was associated with reduced hospitalized AECOPD rates and costs in Chinese patients with COPD.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease 2017 Report: GOLD Executive Summary.

          This Executive Summary of the Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of COPD, Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 2017 Report focuses primarily on the revised and novel parts of the document. The most significant changes include: (i) the assessment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has been refined to separate the spirometric assessment from symptom evaluation. ABCD groups are now proposed to be derived exclusively from patient symptoms and their history of exacerbations; (ii) for each of the groups A to D, escalation strategies for pharmacological treatments are proposed; (iii) the concept of de-escalation of therapy is introduced in the treatment assessment scheme; (iv)non-pharmacological therapies are comprehensively presented and (v) the importance of co-morbid conditions in managing COPD is reviewed.
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            Medication adherence issues in patients treated for COPD

            Although medical treatment of COPD has advanced, nonadherence to medication regimens poses a significant barrier to optimal management. Underuse, overuse, and improper use continue to be the most common causes of poor adherence to therapy. An average of 40%–60% of patients with COPD adheres to the prescribed regimen and only 1 out of 10 patients with a metered dose inhaler performs all essential steps correctly. Adherence to therapy is multifactorial and involves both the patient and the primary care provider. The effect of patient instruction on inhaler adherence and rescue medication utilization in patients with COPD does not seem to parallel the good results reported in patients with asthma. While use of a combined inhaler may facilitate adherence to medications and improve efficacy, pharmacoeconomic factors may influence patient’s selection of both the device and the regimen. Patient’s health beliefs, experiences, and behaviors play a significant role in adherence to pharmacological therapy. This manuscript reviews important aspects associated with medication adherence in patients with COPD and identifies some predictors of poor adherence.
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              COPD in China

              Although, to our knowledge, there has been no exhaustive or credible review of the evidence of the disease burden of COPD in China, COPD has become an increasing public health concern to the Chinese medical community. The purpose of this article is to review the evidence and evaluate and clarify the disease burden of COPD in China with the aim of improving effective management. We reviewed previous studies of COPD in China, which included data on prevalence, mortality, disease burden, risk factors, diagnosis, and management by searching related Web sites, including PubMed, ProQuest, and Thomson Reuters' Web of Knowledge, as well as major Chinese databases and government Web sites. Reported COPD prevalence varied between 5% and 13% in different provinces/cities across China. In 2008, COPD ranked fourth as a leading cause of death in urban areas and third in rural areas. In addition, COPD accounted for 1.6% of all hospital admissions in China in that year. The high prevalence of smoking and biomass fuel use acted as major contributors to the high occurrence of COPD in China. Management of COPD in China should focus on adjusting the distribution of medical resources and on addressing public health policies to facilitate earlier diagnosis in rural areas, aim to reduce smoking prevalence, improve patients' self-management, and keep physicians' knowledge up to date and consistent with current guidelines. COPD is one of the most challenging medical issues facing China because of its influence on both personal and public health and its impact on the economy. Optimal management strategies should be adopted and strengthened immediately.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                04 May 2020
                : 15
                : 963-971
                [1 ]State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, National Clinical Research Center, Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health, First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University , Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Health Economics, Shanghai Centennial Scientific Co. Ltd ., Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]Medical Affairs, AstraZeneca China , Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
                [4 ]Health Economics Research Institute, Sun Yat-Sen University , Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Rongchang Chen State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, National Clinical Research Center, Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Disease, First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University , Guangzhou, People’s Republic of ChinaTel +86 20 83062870 Email
                © 2020 Chen 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: 1, Tables: 4, References: 31, Pages: 9
                This study was supported by AstraZeneca, China.
                Original Research


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