In COPD, Medication Delivery Matters

By: Nicola Hanania, MD, MS, FCCP

December 14, 2017

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a progressive respiratory disease that causes worsening obstruction to airflow in the lungs over time. Approximately 15.7 million adults in the United States report that they have been diagnosed with COPD. It is estimated that several million more are undiagnosed. COPD is responsible for over 120,000 deaths per year, making it the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

There are many treatments that help patients with COPD feel and function better. Most of these treatments for COPD are delivered by inhalation, and several delivery devices are currently available. However, recent data show that health-care providers (HCPs) often prescribe COPD medications, failing to consider the way these devices may significantly impact their patients.

In August 2016, CHEST and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced a strategic initiative focused on increasing recognition of the importance of medication delivery in evaluating therapy for patients with COPD. As a part of this collaboration, the organizations launched the Delivery Makes a Difference survey, which aimed to understand patient and HCP practices and to provide tools for matching patients with appropriate medications and delivery devices.

Some of the key findings gathered from research conducted in the Delivery Makes a Difference survey include:

One should remember that the delivery of medication is a crucial component impacting adherence, control of patient symptoms, and quality of life. A comprehensive approach to the patient’s needs is essential to optimize treatment of COPD. This approach extends beyond the molecule and has to consider patient’s inhaler technique and any underlying comorbidities that may influence this as well as an ongoing clinician-patient communication.

Have you witnessed the impact of delivery device on patient’s care and disease outcomes?

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