The new report suggests that long-acting beta agonists have beneficial effects in patients with moderate-to-severe COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and do not appear to increase the risk of respiratory deaths.
In the study, Dr. Gustavo J. Rodrigo, from Hospital Central de las Fuerzas Armadas, Montevideo, Uruguay and colleagues pooled data from 27 randomized clinical trials that compared two long-acting beta agonists with placebo or with two long-acting “anticholinergic” asthma drugs (for example, Spiriva) in patients with moderate to severe COPD.
Compared with placebo, long-acting beta agonist therapy reduced severe COPD flare-ups by 21 percent and did not increase death from COPD. Treatment with a long-acting beta agonist had benefits “in terms of lung function, quality of life, and use of daily rescue medication”.
The pooled data also showed that treatment with Spiriva decreased the incidence of severe COPD flare-ups compared with a long-acting beta agonist. Overall, daily tiotropium (Spiriva) appears to be foundational as a long-acting bronchodilator in COPD, despite some equivocation on this matter in current COPD treatment guidelines.
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