Primary care management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to reduce exacerbations and their consequences

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Abstract

Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-acute worsenings of dyspnea, cough and/or sputum production beyond daily symptom variations, necessitating a change in treatment-account for most COPD-related morbidity, care burden and direct costs. Frequent exacerbations (especially those requiring emergency, inpatient or intensive care) reduce physical activity, accelerate lung function decline and increase mortality. This review profiles exacerbation diagnosis, treatment and reduction measures for primary care physicians. Chronic maintenance pharmacotherapy is important to reduce exacerbations. Tiotropium, a long-acting anticholinergic, and salmeterol/fluticasone, a long-acting β-agonist/inhaled corticosteroid combination, are Food and Drug Administration-approved maintenance therapies to reduce exacerbations of COPD. Influenza and pneumonia vaccinations reduce infectious triggers; pulmonary rehabilitation reduces exacerbation recurrence. Acute exacerbation treatment (short-acting bronchodilators, systemic corticosteroids and/or antibiotics) should be complemented by long-term COPD maintenance therapy to reduce future exacerbations. Recognition of a COPD exacerbation signals primary care physicians to establish long-term COPD management to reduce morbidity, disability and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Volume340
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2010

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Primary Health Care
Primary Care Physicians
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Morbidity
Therapeutics
Lung
Mortality
Bronchodilator Agents
Cholinergic Antagonists
Emergency Medical Services
United States Food and Drug Administration
Critical Care
Disease Management
Sputum
Cough
Dyspnea
Human Influenza
Disease Progression
Inpatients

Keywords

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Exacerbations
  • Formoterol/budesonide
  • Salmeterol/fluticasone
  • Tiotropium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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