On Wednesday, September 24th, 2008, the COPD Foundation hosted a teleconference with Dr. Byron Thomashow, Chairman of the COPD Foundation Board of Directors, and Dr. Dave Balazar of Boehringer/Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, to answer questions regarding the day’s release of a meta-analysis report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concerning inhaled tiotropium, marketed as Spiriva®, which is a long-acting inhaled anticholinergic agent used in managing COPD. Over 50 individuals representing various sectors of the COPD patient community were present in the conference, and asked several questions to the two experts.
In regards to the study released, the COPD Foundation issued a statement: “Inhaled anticholinergic medications have been an important agent in COPD care for many years. All available guidelines stress the importance of maintenance therapy in COPD patients with moderate, severe, or very severe disease. Inhaled tiotropium, a long-acting inhaled anticholinergic agent, has been a mainstay of COPD care. The meta-analysis published in JAMA on September 24th raises concerns over cardiovascular risks. However, meta-analysis of aggregate published data does have limitations and it must be stressed that COPD itself has been defined as a cardiovascular risk factor. UPLIFT®, one of the largest trials ever done in COPD has recently been completed. While the results of this very large study will not be available until next month, the UPLIFT® safety data released today report no increased cardiovascular risk. The COPD Foundation would suggest caution in potentially over-reacting to the JAMA study. COPD is almost always a preventable and treatable disease. Available data continues to suggest that tiotropium is an important component of that therapy. We await with interest and hope, the full results of UPLIFT®.” (By Dr. Byron Thomashow, Chairman of the COPD Foundation Board of Directors.)