Long-acting β-adrenergic agonists and long-acting anticholinergic agents are recommended for the management of patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD); however, their role in the acute setting is uncertain. OBJECTIVES:
To describe the use and outcomes associated with long-acting bronchodilator therapy (LABD) among patients hospitalized with exacerbations of COPD. METHODS:
We conducted a retrospective cohort study at 421 U.S. hospitals of patientshospitalized with exacerbations of COPD between January 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011. We used propensity score methods to compare the risk of a composite measure of treatment failure, length of stay, and hospital costs in patients who were treated with an LABD to those who did not receive treatment. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:
Of the 77,378 patients included in the analysis, 31,725 (41%) were treated with an LABD on Hospital Day 1 or Day 2, including 15,356 (48.4%) who received a long-acting β-agonist, 6,665 (21%) who received a long-acting anticholinergic, and 9,704 (30.6%) who received both. When compared with patients who were not treated with an LABD, treated patients tended to be younger and had a modestly lower comorbidity burden but were more likely to have had prior admission for COPD and to be treated with inhaled corticosteroids. The incidence of treatment failure was similar among those who were or were not treated with LABDs (13.1 vs. 13.6%, P = 0.06). In propensity-matched analyses we found no difference in the risk of treatment failure associated with exposure to LABDs (relative risk [RR], 1.00; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.96-1.04), minimal differences in hospital cost (RR, 1.02; 95% CI, 1.01-1.03), and no difference in length of stay (RR, 1.01; 95% CI, 1.00-1.02). CONCLUSIONS:
Despite a lack of evidence, LABDs are commonly prescribed to patientshospitalized for exacerbations of COPD but are not associated with better clinical or economicoutcomes. Clinical trials are needed to determine the optimal use of these medications in the acute care setting.