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Respir Med. 2003 Mar;97(3):264-72.

Is there any association between inhaled ipratropium and mortality in patients with COPD and asthma?

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Department of Pulmonary Medicine, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Hvidovre, Denmark.



To determine whether ipratropium was associated with premature death in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


A longitudinal cohort of 827 patients with COPD and 273 with asthma who were evaluated for compensation by two specialists in pulmonary medicine.


By June 1999, 538 of the patients with COPD and 77 of those with asthma had died. Atthe consultation, 77% ofthe COPD patients and 8.1% of the asthmatic patients were treated with inhaled ipratropium. Ipratropium was associated with mortality risk ratio (RR) of 2.0 (95% confidence interval: 1.5-2.6) for COPD and 3.6 (1.8-7.1) for asthma patients. After adjustment for confounding factors [forced expiratory volume 1 s (FEV1), smoking habits, asthma medication, and presence of cor pulmonale] the RR for COPD was 1.6 (1.2-2.1) and for asthma 24 (1.2-5.0).


The increased risk of premature death associated with ipratropium is of concern and necessitates further evaluation, e.g., in a randomised study.

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