Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Long-term use of popular inhalers increases risk of pneumonia for COPD patients

10.02.2009
Newly published research out of Wake Forest University School of Medicine finds that a popular class of anti-inflammatory inhalers significantly increases the risk of pneumonia in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The study appears in this month's issue of Archives of Internal Medicine and focuses on the incidence of pneumonia in patients with COPD who were exposed to inhaled corticosteroid drugs, either alone or in combination with other drugs.

COPD is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. It can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and other symptoms. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, and most people who have COPD smoke or are former smokers. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes or dust, also may contribute to COPD.

COPD is currently the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 120,000 deaths annually and costing more than $30 billion each year, according to the National Lung Health Education Program. It is estimated that more than 16 million Americans have COPD; however, that number is rising rapidly and the disease often goes undiagnosed, so some estimates put the actual number of Americans afflicted with the disease as high as 24 million.

Inhaled corticosteroids, used alone or in combination with other drugs for the treatment of asthma, are not approved for use alone in patients with COPD, but rather in combination with beta-antagonists, which dilate the lungs. The available inhaled steroid combinations are fluticasone/salmeterol, marketed byGlaxoSmithKline as AdvairTM, and budesonide/formoterol, marketed by AstraZeneca as SymbicortTM.

The inhalers are effective in relieving many of the symptoms of COPD, but have been associated with an increased risk of pneumonia in recent studies.

For the current study, researchers reviewed 18 randomized clinical trials, several of which were unpublished, involving nearly 17,000 patients in total. They compared the incidence of pneumonia in patients who had taken inhaled corticosteroids for at least 24 weeks versus patients who had taken a placebo, or patients who had taken combination inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-antagonists versus patients who took only the long-acting bronchodilator.

Analysis of the results showed that inhaled corticosteroid use, alone or in combination with bronchodilators, for at least 24 weeks was associated with a significantly increased risk of pneumonia and serious pneumonia (60 to 70 percent increase); however, it was not associated with an increased risk of death. In absolute terms, the study showed that nearly one in every 47 patients with COPD using a corticosteroid inhaler for one year is likely to develop pneumonia linked to use of the drug.

"Our robust meta-analysis … clarifies that the risk of pneumonia reported as a serious adverse event, can be specifically attributed to the long-term use of the inhaled steroid component," the researchers wrote in their report.

Researchers advised that these results pertain specifically to COPD patients rather than asthma patients, and recommend that "clinicians should remain vigilant for the development of pneumonia with inhaled corticosteroids, as the signs and symptoms of pneumonia may closely mimic that of COPD exacerbations."

"Given the substantial emerging risk of pneumonia and its associated morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic obstructive lung disease, and the uncertain benefit of adding an inhaled corticosteroid to a long-acting bronchodilator, clinicians should re-evaluate the benefit-harm profile of long-term inhaled corticosteroid use among patients with COPD," said Sonal Singh, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of internal medicine and lead investigator for the study.

Jessica Guenzel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'
16.11.2018 | Purdue University

nachricht Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal
14.11.2018 | Michigan Technological University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize

19.11.2018 | Information Technology

Controlling organ growth with light

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>