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Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet].

Withdrawal of inhaled corticosteroids in individuals with COPD: a systematic review and comment on trial methodology

Review published: 2011.

Bibliographic details: Nadeem NJ, Taylor SJ, Eldridge SM.  Withdrawal of inhaled corticosteroids in individuals with COPD: a systematic review and comment on trial methodology. Respiratory Research 2011; 12(107) [PMC free article: PMC3185272] [PubMed: 21838890]

Abstract

Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) reduce COPD exacerbation frequency and slow decline in health related quality of life but have little effect on lung function, do not reduce mortality, and increase the risk of pneumonia. We systematically reviewed trials in which ICS have been withdrawn from patients with COPD, with the aim of determining the effect of withdrawal, understanding the differing results between trials, and making recommendations for improving methodology in future trials where medication is withdrawn. Trials were identified by two independent reviewers using MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL, citations of identified studies were checked, and experts contacted to identify further studies. Data extraction was completed independently by two reviewers. The methodological quality of each trial was determined by assessing possible sources of systematic bias as recommended by the Cochrane collaboration. We included four trials; the quality of three was adequate. In all trials, outcomes were generally worse for patients who had had ICS withdrawn, but differences between outcomes for these patients and patients who continued with medication were mostly small and not statistically significant. Due to data paucity we performed only one meta-analysis; this indicated that patients who had had medication withdrawn were 1.11 (95% CI 0.84 to 1.46) times more likely to have an exacerbation in the following year, but the definition of exacerbations was not consistent between the three trials, and the impact of withdrawal was smaller in recent trials which were also trials conducted under conditions that reflected routine practice. There is no evidence from this review that withdrawing ICS in routine practice results in important deterioration in patient outcomes. Furthermore, the extent of increase in exacerbations depends on the way exacerbations are defined and managed and may depend on the use of other medication. In trials where medication is withdrawn, investigators should report other medication use, definitions of exacerbations and management of patients clearly. Intention to treat analyses should be used and interpreted appropriately.

CRD has determined that this article meets the DARE scientific quality criteria for a systematic review.

Copyright © 2014 University of York.

PMID: 21838890

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