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Am J Med. 2007 May;120(5):435-41.

Comparing COPD treatment: nebulizer, metered dose inhaler, and concomitant therapy.

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Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif 90095-1690, USA.



Patients using albuterol and ipratropium for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can use either nebulizers or metered dose inhalers. This study compared the 2 methods of delivering medication and the concomitant use of both nebulizer and inhaler, with respect to health-related quality of life, patient symptoms, and efficacy.


Patients over 50 years old with COPD were randomized into 3 groups: nebulizer, inhaler, or concomitant treatment. Quality of life was assessed using the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire at baseline, and at 6 and 12 weeks. Other efficacy measurements at these time-points included pre- and post-dose forced expired volume in 1 second (FEV1). Symptom scores and peak flow measurements were recorded in patient diaries.


Of 140 patients enrolled, 126 completed at least one post-baseline assessment. At week 6, both groups using a nebulizer achieved statistically significant improvements from baseline in questionnaire symptoms, and the concomitant treatment group had clinically and statistically significant improvement in total questionnaire score. At week 12, the concomitant group still maintained significant improvement in symptom sub-scores. The 3 groups showed little change over time in peak flow or FEV1, with no significant difference among groups. Both groups using a nebulizer had significant improvement over time in diary symptom scores, although differences between groups were not significant.


Patients using combined nebulizer therapy morning and night with mid-day inhaler use had the most statistically significant improvements in quality of life indices. This concomitant regimen provides the additional symptom relief offered by a nebulizer with the convenience of an inhaler when patients are away from home.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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