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Steroids in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Studied

Last Updated: February 04, 2010.

In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, treatment with inhaled corticosteroids may have only a modest benefit in preventing disease exacerbations, according to a systematic review and metaregression published in the February issue of Chest.

THURSDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) may have only a modest benefit in preventing disease exacerbations, according to a systematic review and metaregression published in the February issue of Chest.

Ritesh Agarwal, M.D., of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, and colleagues analyzed data on 8,164 patients who were enrolled in 11 studies published between 1998 and 2008.

The researchers' systematic review found that ICS were associated with a modestly reduced risk of exacerbations (relative risk, 0.82), and their sensitivity analysis showed that the benefit was limited to patients with forced expiratory volume in one second values of less than 50 percent (relative risk, 0.79). In addition, metaregression did not show a linear relationship between forced expiratory volume in one second values and a reduction of exacerbations with ICS use.

"There is only a modest benefit of ICS in preventing COPD exacerbations, which is not related to the level of baseline lung function on metaregression analysis. The benefits of ICS in preventing COPD exacerbations thus seem to be overstated," the authors conclude.

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