Steroids for acute COPD--but for how long?

The Journal of family practice (Impact Factor: 0.89). 01/2014; 63(1):29-32.
Source: PubMed


Not only was a shorter course of glucocorticoid therapy as effective as a 14-day regimen, but there was no difference in the time to next exacerbation.

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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE International guidelines advocate a 7- to 14-day course of systemic glucocorticoid therapy in acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the optimal dose and duration are unknown. OBJECTIVE To investigate whether a short-term (5 days) systemic glucocorticoid treatment in patients with COPD exacerbation is noninferior to conventional (14 days) treatment in clinical outcome and whether it decreases the exposure to steroids. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS REDUCE (Reduction in the Use of Corticosteroids in Exacerbated COPD), a randomized, noninferiority multicenter trial in 5 Swiss teaching hospitals, enrolling 314 patients presenting to the emergency department with acute COPD exacerbation, past or present smokers (≥20 pack-years) without a history of asthma, from March 2006 through February 2011. INTERVENTIONS Treatment with 40 mg of prednisone daily for either 5 or 14 days in a placebo-controlled, double-blind fashion. The predefined noninferiority criterion was an absolute increase in exacerbations of at most 15%, translating to a critical hazard ratio of 1.515 for a reference event rate of 50%. MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURE Time to next exacerbation within 180 days. RESULTS Of 314 randomized patients, 289 (92%) of whom were admitted to the hospital, 311 were included in the intention-to-treat analysis and 296 in the per-protocol analysis. Hazard ratios for the short-term vs conventional treatment group were 0.95 (90% CI, 0.70 to 1.29; P = .006 for noninferiority) in the intention-to-treat analysis and 0.93 (90% CI, 0.68 to 1.26; P = .005 for noninferiority) in the per-protocol analysis, meeting our noninferiority criterion. In the short-term group, 56 patients (35.9%) reached the primary end point; 57 (36.8%) in the conventional group. Estimates of reexacerbation rates within 180 days were 37.2% (95% CI, 29.5% to 44.9%) in the short-term; 38.4% (95% CI, 30.6% to 46.3%) in the conventional, with a difference of -1.2% (95% CI, -12.2% to 9.8%) between the short-term and the conventional. Among patients with a reexacerbation, the median time to event was 43.5 days (interquartile range [IQR], 13 to 118) in the short-term and 29 days (IQR, 16 to 85) in the conventional. There was no difference between groups in time to death, the combined end point of exacerbation, death, or both and recovery of lung function. In the conventional group, mean cumulative prednisone dose was significantly higher (793 mg [95% CI, 710 to 876 mg] vs 379 mg [95% CI, 311 to 446 mg], P < .001), but treatment-associated adverse reactions, including hyperglycemia and hypertension, did not occur more frequently. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE In patients presenting to the emergency department with acute exacerbations of COPD, 5-day treatment with systemic glucocorticoids was noninferior to 14-day treatment with regard to reexacerbation within 6 months of follow-up but significantly reduced glucocorticoid exposure. These findings support the use of a 5-day glucocorticoid treatment in acute exacerbations of COPD. TRIAL REGISTRATION Identifier:ISRCTN19646069.
    JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 05/2013; 309(21):1-9. DOI:10.1001/jama.2013.5023 · 35.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although their clinical efficacy is unclear and they may cause serious adverse effects, systemic glucocorticoids are a standard treatment for patients hospitalized with exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We conducted a double-blind, randomized trial of systemic glucocorticoids (given for two or eight weeks) or placebo in addition to other therapies, for exacerbations of COPD. Most other care was standardized over the six-month period of follow-up. The primary end point was treatment failure, defined as death from any cause or the need for intubation and mechanical ventilation, readmission to the hospital for COPD, or intensification of drug therapy. Of 1840 potential study participants at 25 Veterans Affairs medical centers, 271 were eligible for participation and were enrolled; 80 received an eight-week course of glucocorticoid therapy, 80 received a two-week course, and 111 received placebo. About half the potential participants were ineligible because they had received systemic glucocorticoids in the previous 30 days. Rates of treatment failure were significantly higher in the placebo group than in the two glucocorticoid groups combined at 30 days (33 percent vs. 23 percent, P=0.04) and at 90 days (48 percent vs. 37 percent, P=0.04). Systemic glucocorticoids (in both groups combined) were associated with a shorter initial hospital stay (8.5 days, vs. 9.7 days for placebo, P=0.03) and with a forced expiratory volume in one second that was about 0.10 liter higher than that in the placebo group by the first day after enrollment. Significant treatment benefits were no longer evident at six months. The eight-week regimen of therapy was not superior to the two-week regimen. The patients who received glucocorticoid therapy were more likely to have hyperglycemia requiring therapy than those who received placebo (15 percent vs. 4 percent, P=0.002). Treatment with systemic glucocorticoids results in moderate improvement in clinical outcomes among patients hospitalized for exacerbations of COPD. The maximal benefit is obtained during the first two weeks of therapy. Hyperglycemia of sufficient severity to warrant treatment is the most frequent complication.
    New England Journal of Medicine 07/1999; 340(25):1941-7. DOI:10.1056/NEJM199906243402502 · 55.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often present with severe acute exacerbations requiring hospital treatment. However, little is known about the prognostic consequences of these exacerbations. A study was undertaken to investigate whether severe acute exacerbations of COPD exert a direct effect on mortality. Multivariate techniques were used to analyse the prognostic influence of acute exacerbations of COPD treated in hospital (visits to the emergency service and admissions), patient age, smoking, body mass index, co-morbidity, long term oxygen therapy, forced spirometric parameters, and arterial blood gas tensions in a prospective cohort of 304 men with COPD followed up for 5 years. The mean (SD) age of the patients was 71 (9) years and forced expiratory volume in 1 second was 46 (17)%. Only older age (hazard ratio (HR) 5.28, 95% CI 1.75 to 15.93), arterial carbon dioxide tension (HR 1.07, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.12), and acute exacerbations of COPD were found to be independent indicators of a poor prognosis. The patients with the greatest mortality risk were those with three or more acute COPD exacerbations (HR 4.13, 95% CI 1.80 to 9.41). This study shows for the first time that severe acute exacerbations of COPD have an independent negative impact on patient prognosis. Mortality increases with the frequency of severe exacerbations, particularly if these require admission to hospital.
    Thorax 12/2005; 60(11):925-31. DOI:10.1136/thx.2005.040527 · 8.29 Impact Factor