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COPD Patients Using Beta-agonist Inhalers Are at Risk

atory deaths increased when compared with those who took only the placebo."

"These results suggest that anticholinergics should be the bronchodilator of choice in COPD," said Shelley Salpeter, M.D., Edwin Salpeter's daughter and the lead author. She is a clinical professor of medicine at Stanford's School of Medicine and a physician at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, Calif. "The long-term safety of beta-agonists in patients with COPD should be addressed."

A recent meta-analysis by the Salpeters also revealed that beta-agonist inhalers increased both hospitalizations and deaths in asthma sufferers of all ages.

Previous studies have shown that patients with COPD build up tolerance to beta-agonists' bronchodilator and bronchoprotective effects after regular treatment compared with the first dose.

While beta-agonists may reduce symptoms through bronchodilation, the researchers believe they also promote bronchial inflammation and sensitivity by reducing bronchial protection without any warning of increased symptoms, which can then lead to a life-threatening response.

In the trials that were analyzed, only two patients out of 4,036 who took anticholinergics died of respiratory causes, while 12 of 3,845 participants in the placebo group died of respiratory ailments. When patients inhaled beta-agonists, there were 21 respiratory deaths out of 1,320 patients and eight respiratory deaths out of 1,084 participants in the placebo group.

(Source: Newswise)
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