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Exacerbations* in COPD: What’s the risk?

43% of patients on a COPD treatment have experienced an exacerbation** within the last
12 months
1 2.

The consequences of COPD exacerbations can be significant for your patients and beyond.

COPD Quality of Life

Decreased health-related quality of life 4

COPD hospitalisation

Most common reason for COPD-related hospitalisation 5

COPD Exacerbations

Associated with increased risk of mortality 6

COPD Exacerbations

Major contributor to the economic burden 7 8

COPD Exacerbations

2x increased risk of myocardial infarction in the short-term (1.1 per 100 patient years)†† 9

The strongest predictor of future exacerbation risk in patients with COPD, is a prior history of exacerbations 10.

Take action against exacerbation risk.

Making sure your patients who are symptomatic and at risk of an exacerbation are on the optimal treatment is important to help reduce future exacerbations. The resources below are available to support your management of patients with COPD.

Assessing patients with COPD

Learn more about when and how to assess your patients with COPD.

Read this blog article >

COPD assessment test

Order the COPD assessment test to identify your at-risk patients.

Order your CAT pad here >

Patient with COPD

When appropriate, step up your patients with COPD on an ICS/LABA to triple therapy to reduce exacerbation risk.

Learn more here >

*Defined as a worsening of symptoms, or has experienced an exacerbation treated with antibiotics or oral corticosteroid in the past 12 months

**Defined as at least 1 hospitalisation and/or at least 2 non-hospitalised exacerbations. An analysis of a cohort of patients with COPD within the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink who initiated treatment with a LAMA, LABA, or combination of LAMA/LABA or ICS/LABA (n=63,900). Data on exacerbations were available for all patients 2.

Post hoc analysis of the 3-year Toward a Revolution in COPD Health (TORCH ) study in patients with moderate or severe COPD (treatment arms: salmeterol 50 mcg, fluticasone propionate 500 mcg, salmeterol /fluticasone propionate 50 /500 mcg or placebo, all twice daily ) .4 The primary endpoint of the study did not reach statistical significance. Data shown compares patients with 0-1 moderate /severe exacerbations per annum vs. 0 exacerbations per annum. Analysis includes patients on active treatment and placebo.

††2.27-fold (95% CI, 1.1-4.7; P=0.03) increased risk of MI 1 to 5 days after exacerbation (defined by prescription of both steroids and antibiotics).


  1. Rebordosa C et al. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Sef 2019 Feb;28(2):126-133.
  2. Rebordosa C et al. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2019 Feb;28(2):126-133, Supplementary material.
  3. Celli B et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2008; 178:332-338
  4. Seemungal TA et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1998; 157:1418-1422.
  5. Mapel DW, Robers MH. Pharmacoeconomics 2012; 30:869-885.
  6. Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of Chronic Obtructive Pulmonary Disease (GOLD), 2019.
  7. Pasquale MK et al. Int J COPD 2012; 7:757-764.
  8. Yu AP et al. J Med Econ 2011; 14:315-323.
  9. Donaldson GC et al. Chest 2010; 137:1091-1097)
  10. Hurst JR, Vestbo J, Anzueto A, et al. N Engl J Med. 2010;363(12):1128-1138.

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