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J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2013 Nov-Dec;53(6):e219-29; quiz e230-1. doi: 10.1331/JAPhA.2013.13535.

COPD 2013: an update on treatment and newly approved medications for pharmacists.



To educate pharmacists about the Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (GOLD) guidelines for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), newly approved medications, and recent developments since the guidelines were published.


The evidence-based GOLD guidelines provide recommendations for clinicians managing patients with COPD. These guidelines were revised most recently in 2013. Three new medications (indacaterol maleate, aclidinium bromide, and fluticasone furoate/vilanterol) have been approved in the previous 2 years. Adding to the armamentarium of medications for treating COPD is useful. Studies also have been conducted to determine which inhaled agents are preferred for use when long-acting bronchodilators are needed as mono- and combination therapy. In addition, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors and macrolides are being studied for use in COPD. An extensive COPD pipeline consists of many oral and inhaled medications, including olodaterol and glycopyrronium maleate, which are in Phase III clinical trials. Medication adherence is a very important piece of COPD management. Pharmacists play an integral role in drug selection and patient education to ensure the best possible outcomes.


The GOLD guidelines represent the standard of care for COPD management. New drug approvals and recent research may affect practitioner choices in managing the disease. Pharmacists can improve medication adherence and selection in order to maximize therapeutic effectiveness and ensure that patients are using inhalation delivery devices optimally.

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