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Steroid Drugs Improve COPD Survival

Inhaled corticosteroids fight the deadly obstructive lung disease, studies find

THURSDAY, Aug. 18, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who used drugs called inhaled corticosteroids had a 30 percent reduction in risk for re-hospitalization and death over a follow-up period of one year, according to new research.

The findings come from two studies conducted by researchers at drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

COPD, the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, is a lung disease characterized by airflow obstruction that interferes with normal breathing. Chronic bronchitis and severe emphysema -- usually caused by years of smoking -- are the two conditions that most commonly underlie COPD.

"With different study designs reducing potential bias, we consistently found an association between inhaled corticosteroid use and the reduction of risk of re-hospitalization and death," researcher Dr. Joan B. Soriano said in a prepared statement.

In an editorial in the same issue, Dr. Jonathan M. Samet, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote that the "still-evolving evidence does provide some indication of the potential magnitude of the benefits associated with inhaled corticosteroids associated with COPD. The new report by Dr. Soriano and ... colleagues suggests a 30 percent reduction in risk for re-hospitalization or death, which is a meaningful gain in COPD treatment."

More information

The American Medical Association has more about COPD.

SOURCE: American Thoracic Society, news release, Aug 15, 2005
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