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CHEST: Combination Therapy Improves Survival in COPD

Treatment also improves lung function and symptoms

TUESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a combination of salmeterol plus fluticasone propionate may improve survival better than either placebo or fluticasone alone, according to a study presented Oct. 23 at CHEST 2006, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians. The combined treatment also improves lung function and symptoms of COPD.

In the three-year study, Bartolome R. Celli, M.D., from Caritas-St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues studied 6,112 patients with moderate to severe COPD. Patients were treated with fluticasone propionate, salmeterol, salmeterol plus fluticasone, or a placebo.

The researchers found that salmeterol plus fluticasone reduced overall mortality risk by 18 percent compared with the placebo and tended to improve survival better than fluticasone propionate alone. COPD-related mortality also tended to be lower with combined therapy compared with placebo. Treatment with salmeterol plus fluticasone also improved lung function and quality of life, and reduced exacerbations.

"The combination therapy of salmeterol and fluticasone is the first intervention since oxygen therapy or smoking cessation to show improved survival in patients with COPD," Celli states in an accompanying press release. "This represents an important step forward in the management of COPD."

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