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Ann Intern Med. 2005 Sep 6;143(5):317-26.

Prevention of exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with tiotropium, a once-daily inhaled anticholinergic bronchodilator: a randomized trial.

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  • 1Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417, USA.



Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) frequently develop exacerbations, leading to major clinical and health resource use ramifications.


To prospectively evaluate the effectiveness of a long-acting inhaled anticholinergic bronchodilator, tiotropium, in reducing COPD exacerbations and exacerbation-related health care utilization.


Randomized, double-blind study.


26 Veterans Affairs medical centers.


1829 patients with moderate to severe COPD (mean baseline FEV(1), 36% predicted).


Once-daily tiotropium (18 microg) or placebo for 6 months. Patients otherwise received usual care, except for other anticholinergic bronchodilators.


The coprimary end points were the percentage of patients with a COPD exacerbation and the percentage of patients with a COPD-related hospitalization.


Tiotropium significantly reduced the percentage of patients experiencing 1 or more exacerbations compared with placebo (27.9% vs. 32.3%, respectively; difference, -5.7 percentage points [95% CI, -10.4 to -1.0 percentage points]; P = 0.037). Fewer tiotropium patients were hospitalized because of COPD exacerbation (7.0% vs. 9.5%, respectively; difference, -3.0 percentage points [CI, -5.9 to -0.1 percentage points]; P = 0.056), although this difference was of borderline statistical significance. Analysis of secondary outcomes indicates that tiotropium may lengthen the time to first COPD exacerbation (P = 0.028) and reduce health care utilization for exacerbations, including the frequency of hospitalizations (P = 0.047), unscheduled clinic visits (P = 0.019), and days of antibiotic treatment (P = 0.015). Tiotropium did not statistically significantly reduce all-cause hospitalization rates.


Trial participants were enrolled from 1 health care system, and 99% were men. The follow-up period extended for only 6 months.


Tiotropium reduces COPD exacerbations and may reduce related health care utilization in patients with moderate to severe COPD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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