In order to widen the narrowed airways in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), tiotropium bromide (tiotropium in brief) is one of the drugs available that can be prescribed for inhalation. The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) has examined whether tiotropium offers a perceptible advantage to patients compared to a dummy medication (placebo) and to other COPD drugs. In addition, the two currently marketed types of inhaler (HandiHaler and Respimat) for tiotropium (trade name: Spiriva) were compared.
According to the IQWiG report, there is proof that tiotropium offers patients with COPD advantages compared to placebo: they suffer fewer acute worsenings of their condition (exacerbations), they need to be hospitalized for this reason less often, and their quality of life is better. There are indications of a benefit in terms of less severe symptoms and complaints, e.g. breathing problems. In relation to the ability to carry out everyday practical activities, there is also a hint of a benefit of tiotropium.
An added benefit is also proven in comparison with the drugs salmeterol, formeterol, indacaterol and ipratropium: fewer exacerbations and related hospitalizations occurred under treatment with tiotropium. Compared to indacaterol there is, however, also a hint of a lesser benefit of tiotropium with regard to the COPD symptoms and quality of life.
Effects for COPD patients are the focus of interest
Tiotropium is a drug known as an "anticholinergic" that is used for the treatment of COPD, in which the airways are permanently narrowed and the lungs are damaged. The disease is characterized by chronic cough, increased sputum and shortness of breath on exercise. About 1 in 10 to 20 adults aged over 40 has COPD. Thus, the disease is much more common than asthma. Three-quarters of patients are men.
Because of the strong association with smoking, COPD is also comm
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Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care