Dalal AA, Shaw MB, D'Souza AO, Lunacsek OE, Nagar SP, Crater GD. Observational study of the outcomes and costs of initiating maintenance therapies in patients with moderate exacerbations of COPD. Resp Res. 2012 May;31(13):41.

BACKGROUND: There are limited data describing patients with moderate COPD exacerbations and evaluating comparative effectiveness of maintenance treatments in this patient population. The study examined COPD patients with moderate COPD exacerbations. COPD-related outcomes were compared between patients initiating fluticasone propionate-salmeterol 250/50 mcg (FSC) vs anticholinergics (ACs) following a moderate COPD exacerbation.

METHODS: This retrospective observational study used a large administrative claims database (study period: 2003-2009) to identify and describe patients with an initial, moderate COPD exacerbation. A descriptive analysis of patients with moderate COPD exacerbations was done evaluating maintenance treatment rates, subsequent COPD exacerbation rates, and COPD-related costs during a 1-year period. A cohort analysis compared COPD exacerbation rates and associated costs during a variable-length follow-up period between patients initiating maintenance therapy with FSC or ACs. COPD exacerbations were reported as rate per 100 patient-years, and monthly costs were reported (standardized to USD 2009). COPD exacerbation rates between cohorts were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models, and costs were analyzed using generalized linear models with log-link and gamma distribution.

RESULTS: 21,524 patients with a moderate COPD exacerbation were identified. Only 25% initiated maintenance therapy, and 13% had a subsequent exacerbation. Annual costs averaged $594 per patient. A total of 2,849 treated patients (FSC = 925; AC = 1,924) were eligible for the cohort analysis. The FSC cohort had a significantly lower rate of COPD exacerbations compared to the AC cohort (20.8 vs 32.8; P = 0.04). After adjusting for differences in baseline covariates, the FSC cohort had a 42% significantly lower risk of a COPD exacerbation (HR = 0.58; 95% CI: 0.38, 0.91). The FSC cohort incurred significantly higher adjusted pharmacy costs per patient per month by $37 (95% CI: $19, $72) for COPD-related medications vs the AC cohort. However, this increase was offset by a significant reduction in adjusted monthly medical costs per patient for the FSC vs the AC cohort ($82 vs $112; P < 0.05). Total monthly COPD-related costs, as a result, did not differ between cohorts.

: Only a quarter of patients with a moderate COPD exacerbation were subsequently treated with maintenance therapy. Initiation of FSC among those treated was associated with better clinical and economic outcomes compared to AC.

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