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Management of COPD in the UK primary-care setting: an analysis of real-life prescribing patterns

Authors Price DB, West D, Brusselle G, Gruffydd-Jones K, Jones R, Miravitlles M, Rossi A, Hutton C, Ashton VL, Stewart R, Bichel K

Received 19 February 2014

Accepted for publication 13 June 2014

Published 27 August 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 889—905


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

David Price,1 Daniel West,2 Guy Brusselle,3–5 Kevin Gruffydd-Jones,6 Rupert Jones,7 Marc Miravitlles,8 Andrea Rossi,9 Catherine Hutton,2 Valerie L Ashton,2 Rebecca Stewart,2 Katsiaryna Bichel2

1Centre of Academic Primary Care, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK; 2Research in Real-Life Ltd, Cambridge, UK; 3Department of Respiratory Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium; 4Department of Epidemiology, 5Department of Respiratory Medicine, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; 6Box Surgery, Wiltshire, UK; 7Centre for Clinical Trials and Health Research – Translational and Stratified Medicine, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth UK; 8Department of Pneumology, Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Ciber de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Barcelona, Spain; 9Pulmonary Unit, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Department, University and General Hospital, Verona, Italy

Background: Despite the availability of national and international guidelines, evidence suggests that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment is not always prescribed according to recommendations. This study evaluated the current management of patients with COPD using a large UK primary-care database.
Methods: This analysis used electronic patient records and patient-completed questionnaires from the Optimum Patient Care Research Database. Data on current management were analyzed by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) group and presence or absence of a concomitant asthma diagnosis, in patients with a COPD diagnosis at ≥35 years of age and with spirometry results supportive of the COPD diagnosis.
Results: A total of 24,957 patients were analyzed, of whom 13,557 (54.3%) had moderate airflow limitation (GOLD Stage 2 COPD). The proportion of patients not receiving pharmacologic treatment for COPD was 17.0% in the total COPD population and 17.7% in the GOLD Stage 2 subset. Approximately 50% of patients in both cohorts were receiving inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), either in combination with a long-acting β2-agonist (LABA; 26.7% for both cohorts) or a LABA and a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA; 23.2% and 19.9%, respectively). ICS + LABA and ICS + LABA + LAMA were the most frequently used treatments in GOLD Groups A and B. Of patients without concomitant asthma, 53.7% of the total COPD population and 50.2% of the GOLD Stage 2 subset were receiving ICS. Of patients with GOLD Stage 2 COPD and no exacerbations in the previous year, 49% were prescribed ICS. A high proportion of GOLD Stage 2 COPD patients were symptomatic on their current management (36.6% with modified Medical Research Council score ≥2; 76.4% with COPD Assessment Test score ≥10).
Conclusion: COPD is not treated according to GOLD and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommendations in the UK primary-care setting. Some patients receive no treatment despite experiencing symptoms. Among those on treatment, most receive ICS irrespective of severity of airflow limitation, asthma diagnosis, and exacerbation history. Many patients on treatment continue to have symptoms.

COPD, UK primary-care setting, prescribing patterns, inhaled corticosteroids, bronchodilators

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