Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

COPD Health Center

Font Size

Drug May Ease Progressive Lung Disease

Researchers Say Roflumilast Improved Lung Function and Quality of Life for People With COPD
WebMD Health News

Aug. 12, 2005 -- A drug available in Europe called roflumilast helps ease symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), researchers report in The Lancet.

COPD is an inflammatory airway disease with progressive decline in lung function and health-related quality of life.

In an international study of more than 1,100 patients with COPD, those taking roflumilast had bigger improvements in their lung function and quality of life than those taking a fake drug (placebo).

Roflumilast is a promising candidate for treatment of the lung disease because it improved lung function and reduced exacerbations of symptoms compared with placebo, write the researchers.

The study was sponsored by Altana Pharma AG, roflumilast's maker. The company also managed the data and did all the final analyses, write the researchers.

About COPD

COPD is the No. 5 cause of death worldwide, write the researchers. They included professor Klaus Rabe, MD, of Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.

Cases of COPD are rising and treatment options are "limited," write the researchers. They note predictions that COPD -- which causes progressive worsening of breathing and destruction of the lungs -- will be the world's No. 3 cause of death by 2020.

"The disease is usually related to cigarette smoking, but other [causes], such as exposure to air pollution, exist," write Rabe and colleagues.

Treatments include therapy targeted at smoking cessation, medications to improve airway obstruction (bronchodilators), and anti-inflammatory steroid drugs.

Steroids do not reduce the progression of the disease, they write. Bronchodilators provide some symptom relief, but there is a definite unmet medical need that specifically targets inflammation associated with COPD, they add.

New Study

Roflumilast is designed to soothe inflammation. It's part of a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors, which inhibit a particular chemical in inflammatory cells that cause progressive lung tissue destruction.

The new study was conducted in 11 countries. Participants were all at least 40 years old, had had COPD for more than a year, and were current or ex-smokers. None had asthma, lung cancer, or other lung diseases in addition to COPD.

Participants were randomly assigned to take roflumilast or the placebo orally once daily for 24 weeks. They didn't know which treatment they got.

Today on WebMD

man talking to his doctor
Check your COPD risk.
woman using inhaler
What is the top cause of this condition?
chest x-ray
7 early warning signs.
Senior couple stretching
10 exercises for people With COPD.
Bronchitis Overview
Senior woman blowing dandelion
Living With Copd
human lung graphic
Energy Boosting Foods
red heart and ekg
Living With Copd
Senior couple stretching