Combo Treatment Works Best for COPD
Only Small Benefit Seen With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Treatment
Survival Advantage Probably Small
Calverley says the high dropout rate in the untreated (placebo) patients --
44% compared with 34% of the Advair-treated patients -- could help explain the
failure to show a clear survival advantage in patients with the combination
But pulmonary disease expert Klaus F. Rabe, MD, PhD, tells WebMD the new
findings suggest that if a survival advantage exists, it is probably a small
Rabe, a professor of medicine at Leiden University Medical Center in the
Netherlands, is chairman of the science committee of the Global Initiative for
Obstructive Lung Disease.
“The hope had been that this would be a wonder drug that would stop people
from dying of this disease, but that does not appear to be the case,” he
In an editorial accompanying the study, Rabe concludes that COPD patients
should not be treated with inhaled corticosteroids alone.
“Combination therapy, as compared with monotherapy with long-acting
beta-agonists or inhaled corticosteroids, offers statistically significant
advantages for health status, frequency of exacerbations, use of oral steroids,
and -- probably most important clinically -- protection against a decline in
lung function,” he wrote.