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AHRQ Effective Health Care Program Posts Two Studies on the Treatment of COPD

Posted Jan 06 2010 10:18pm


Outcomes Associated with Tiotropium Use in Patients with COPD measures the safety and effectiveness of the use of tiotropium (a medication sold as Spiriva that opens air passages to the lungs) when taken with inhaled corticosteroids (used to regulate inflammation), and long-acting beta-agonists (used to relax bronchial muscles). The combination resulted in a 40 percent reduction in deaths from the disease as well as a 16 percent reduction in bronchial irritations and 22 percent fewer COPD-related hospitalizations. Other medication combinations did not yield the same improvements.

Mortality Risk in COPD Patients Using Theophylline (PDF File) (PDF Help) evaluates outcomes associated with six treatment regimens, including inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting beta-agonists, and ipratropium, with theophylline compared to each regimen without theophylline in patients with COPD. Patients receiving regimens that included theophylline had slightly increased risks of death, bronchial irritations, and COPD-related hospitalizations.

Both studies were conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and were funded by AHRQ’s Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness (DEcIDE) program. Print copies are available by sending an e-mail to

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