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Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
Date:5/2/2011

1. For Older COPD Patients, Long-acting Inhaled Beta-agonists Increase Survival Over Anticholinergics

Long-acting medications such as inhaled beta-agonists and anticholinergic agents are commonly prescribed to manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Both drugs have been shown to decrease exacerbations and hospitalizations and improve COPD symptoms, lung function, quality of life, and possibly mortality. However, it is not known which therapy is a better choice for initial therapy. Researchers studied patients aged 66 years or older who were diagnosed with COPD and were newly prescribed either an inhaled, long-acting beta-agonist or an anticholinergic between 2003 and 2007. The patients were followed for up to 5.5 years to compare survival rates between the two treatment groups. The researchers found that older adults initially prescribed long-acting inhaled beta-agonists had lower mortality than those initially prescribed long-acting anticholinergics. The researchers recommend further study regarding the relative benefits of long-acting anticholinergics.


2. Omalizumab Improves Symptoms for Patients with Uncontrolled Severe Allergic Asthma

Patients with uncontrolled allergic asthma are often prescribed a combination of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs). Even with both medications, these patients can have flare ups that require use of a "rescue inhaler" or require treatment with oral or intravenous steroids. Omalizumab is a medication that blocks the ability of a blood protein to increase airway inflammation and constriction. Researchers studied 850 patients aged 12 to 75 years with severe, uncontrolled asthma resulting in nighttime awakenings, frequent daytime rescue inhaler use, and at least one acute exacerbation of asthma in the past year requiring the use of steroids. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or an injection of omalizumab every
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Contact: Angela Collom
acollom@acponline.org
215-351-2653
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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