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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are inhaled steroids effective in treating COPD?

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  • 4

    Thanks

    Dr Mark Hurwitz

    Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Physician

    Director Respiratory and Sleep Medicine The Canberra Hospital Clinical Associate Professor The Australian National University Medical School View Profile

    The whole place of inhaled steroids has been, again, subject to debate. This has been both from a financial perspective and from a practical perspective. From a practical perspective, they do seem to be of value in improving quality of life and progression of the disease by reducing the number of exacerbations. So, it does seem to slow the progress of the disease. One has to remember all the complications associated with steroids, and there is some evidence that inhaled steroids do predispose people to pneumonia.

    There is also the evidence from people with asthma, but would certainly apply to COPD as well, would be the increased incidence of cataracts in people on inhaled steroids. So in answer, yes, there is a benefit to them. To meet the NHS criteria, the FEV1 has to be less than 50% predicted.

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