Introduction: Long-acting beta-agonists (LABA) and/or inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) have been shown to reduce COPD exacerbation risk. Using data from a large integrated health-care system, we sought to examine whether these medication classes were initiated after an exacerbation of COPD. Methods: We identified patients who experienced an inpatient or outpatient COPD exacerbation within the Veterans Affairs Integrated Service Network (VISN)-20. We assessed the addition of a new inhaled therapy (an ICS, LABA or both) within 180 days after the exacerbation. We assessed independent predictors of adding treatment using logistic regression. Results: We identified 45,780 patients with COPD, of whom 2,760 patients experienced an exacerbation of COPD. Of these individuals, 2,570 (93.1 %) were on either none or only one long-acting medication studied (LABA or ICS). In the subsequent 180-day period after their exacerbation, only 875 (34.1 %) patients had at least one of these additional therapies dispensed from a VA pharmacy. Among patients who were treated in the outpatient setting, older age [OR 0.98/year, 95 % CI (0.97-0.99)], current tobacco use [OR 0.74, 95 % CI (0.60-0.90)], greater use of ipratropium bromide [OR 0.97/canister, 95 % CI (0.96-0.98)], prior COPD exacerbation [OR 0.55, 95 % CI (0.46-0.67)], depression [OR 0.77, 95 % CI (0.61-0.98)], CHF [OR 0.74, 95 % CI (0.57-0.97)], and diabetes (OR 0.77 (0.60-0.99)] were associated with lower odds of additional therapy. Patients who were treated in the hospital had similar associated predictors. Conclusion: Among patients treated for an exacerbation of COPD, we found relatively few were subsequently prescribed inhaled therapies known to reduce exacerbations.
- Inhaled medication use