Exacerbations are the most frequent cause of medical visits, hospital admissions and death among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Tiotropium bromide is a long-acting bronchodilator that has demonstrated clinical efficacy in significantly improving the FEV1 and health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients with COPD. The prolonged and persistent bronchodilation achieved with tiotropium may reduce the exacerbation and COPD-related hospitalisation rates. The effect of tiotropium treatment on the incidence of exacerbations has been determined (as a secondary outcome) in registration trials. There are studies designed specifically to demonstrate the effect of tiotropium on the reduction in the frequency of exacerbations. Two of these studies of 6-month and 1-year duration demonstrated an additional significant benefit in the reduction of exacerbations and hospitalisations. The recent UPLIFT trial included 5993 patients followed for 4 years and, compared with control, tiotropium significantly delayed time-to-first exacerbation (16.7 versus 12.5 months) and time-to-first hospitalisation for exacerbations (lower risk of hospitalisation; HR, 0.86 [95% CI = 0.78-0.95]; p = 0.002). Tiotropium also reduced the mean number of exacerbations by 14% (rate per patient-year, 0.73 versus 0.85; HR, 0.86 [95% CI = 0.81-0.91]; p < 0.001). It is important to highlight that the control group in the UPLIFT trial consisted of patients with usual treatment for COPD, which included inhaled corticosteroids and/or long-acting beta-2 agonists in up to 62% of cases at baseline and up to 73% of cases at any time during follow-up. The new clinical trials have demonstrated a significant reduction in exacerbations and hospitalisations, even in patients treated with other drugs that can potentially prevent exacerbations.
- clinical trials
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Pharmacology (medical)