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Switching treatments in COPD: implications for costs and treatment adherence

Authors Braido F, Lavorini F, Blasi F, Baiardini I, Canonica G

Received 29 July 2015

Accepted for publication 3 October 2015

Published 3 December 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 2601—2608

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S79635

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Professor Hsiao-Chi Chuang

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Fulvio Braido,1 Federico Lavorini,2 Francesco Blasi,3 Ilaria Baiardini,1,* Giorgio Walter Canonica1,*

1Respiratory and Allergy Diseases Clinic, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, IRCCS AOU San Martino-IST, Genoa, 2Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, 3Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Università degli Studi di Milano, IRCCS Fondazione Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Inhaled therapy is key to the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). New drugs and inhalers have recently been launched or will soon become available, and the expiry of patent protection covering several currently used inhaled bronchodilators and corticosteroids will be accompanied by the development of bioequivalent, generic inhaled drugs. Consequently, a broader availability of branded and generic compounds will increase prescription opportunities. Given the time course of COPD, patients are likely to switch drugs and inhalers in daily practice. Switching from one device to another, if not accompanied by appropriate training for the patient, can be associated with poor clinical outcomes and increased use of health care resources. In fact, while it seems reasonable to prescribe generic inhaled drugs to reduce costs, inadequate use of inhaler devices, which is often associated with a poor patient–physician or patient–pharmacist relationship, is one of the most common reasons for failure to achieve COPD treatment outcomes. Further research is needed to quantify, as in asthma, the impact of inappropriate switching of inhalers in patients with COPD and show the outcomes related to the effect of using the same device for delivering inhaled medications.

Keywords: inhaled therapy, long-acting antimuscarinic agents, long-acting β2 agonists, inhaled corticosteroids, metered-dose inhalers, dry powder inhaler

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