The Use of Inhaled Corticosteroids to Prevent Acute Exacerbations of COPD: A Pro/Con Debate.
Russell REK., Pavord I.
The use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) has been accepted as standard practice following early landmark studies. These demonstrated a reduction in the risk of acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD). However, these studies were performed at a time when other therapies were not available and now our standards of care have changed. Other data has emerged which have also raised concerns as to an increase in the incidence of pneumonia in COPD patients taking inhaled corticosteroids. It is thus timely to evaluate the evidence. We present the two sides of this debate and consider the evidence both for the use of ICS as the best therapy to reduce the risk of AECOPD and also the evidence for the use of bronchodilators as a more effective and safer alternative. It is clear that as we approach an age of personalised medicine taking a "one size fits all" approach is both intellectually and medically wrong. We present the evidence that will help clinicians make better decisions for each of their patients.