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Current appraisal of single inhaler triple therapy in COPD

Authors Lipworth B, Kuo CRW, Jabbal S

Received 15 June 2018

Accepted for publication 5 August 2018

Published 28 September 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 3003—3009

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S177333

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Brian Lipworth, Chris RuiWen Kuo, Sunny Jabbal

Division of Molecular & Clinical Medicine, Scottish Centre for Respiratory Research, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK

Abstract: A single inhaler containing inhaled corticosteroid (ICS)/long-acting beta-agonist (LABA)/long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) is a more convenient way of delivering triple therapy in patients with COPD. Single triple therapy has been shown to be superior at reducing exacerbations and improving quality of life compared to LABA/LAMA, especially in patients with a prior history of frequent exacerbations and blood eosinophilia, who have ICS responsive disease. The corollary is that patients with infrequent exacerbations who are noneosinophilic may be safely de-escalated from triple therapy to LABA/LAMA without loss of control. Pointedly, there is a substantially increased risk of pneumonia associated with the triple therapy containing fluticasone furoate but not beclometasone dipropionate or budesonide. Since triple therapy is also better than ICS/LABA at reducing exacerbations and improving lung function, symptoms, and quality of life, this brings into question the rationale for using ICS/LABA. Hence, we propose a simplified pragmatic decision process based on symptoms, prior to exacerbation history, and blood eosinophils to select which patients should be given a single triple inhaler or LABA/LAMA. Differences in patient preference of inhaler device, formulations and drugs will also determine which triple inhaler prescribers elect to use.

Keywords: COPD, inhaled corticosteroid, long-acting beta-agonist, long-acting muscarinic antagonist, lung function, exacerbation

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