LA BioMed investigators help spearhead study about novel approach to acute COPD illness

Richard Casaburi, Ph.D., M.D., principal investigator at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, is co-author of a recent study that should help improve the condition for the millions of individuals who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, better known as COPD. The results of the study reveal that adding a common antibiotic - azithromycin – to the usual daily treatment for COPD reduced the occurrence of acute exacerbations by 27% and tended to improve the quality of life for COPD patients. The results of the study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, appeared in the Aug. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"This important study adds to a growing number of approaches that reduce the frequency of COPD illnesses," said Dr. Casaburi. "Together, they promise COPD patients who avail themselves of readily-available therapies substantially reduced risk of acute lung illnesses. This has the potential to reduce the misery this disease brings and can also can bring down medical costs, as more than half of COPD costs are related to hospitalization for COPD-related illnesses."

COPD is a progressive disease of the lungs that affects about 24 million people in the United States and is now the third leading cause of death in this country. Many patients experience acute COPD-related illnesses ("exacerbations"), which are sudden onsets of worsened cough, wheeze, and labored breathing that are typically induced by bacterial and/or viral infection. Previous research had suggested that the antibiotic might decrease COPD exacerbations, but this study was the first to enroll a large number of COPD patients and treat exacerbations with this drug over a full year. Participants had a history of exacerbations in the previous year or needed oxygen therapy.

At 10 regional centers around the United States, the study recruited 558 study participants who took 250 mg of azithromycin daily for a year, in addition to their usual care. They averaged 1.48 acute COPD exacerbations annually, compared to 1.83 exacerbations for the 559 participants who received traditional care without azithromycin. The participants taking azithromycin also tended to report more favorable breathing ability and overall well-being.

Dr. Casaburi leads the Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center, where over 50 research studies have been performed aimed at improving the lives of with COPD. While there is currently no cure, a combination of drugs and lifestyle changes can help manage COPD symptoms.

Provided by Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Commonly prescribed antibiotic reduces acute COPD attacks

Aug 24, 2011

Adding a common antibiotic to the usual daily treatment regimen for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can reduce the occurrence of acute exacerbations and improve quality of life, reports new results from a clinical ...

Recommended for you

Ebola mistakes should serve a lesson says WHO

12 hours ago

The World Health Organization's chief admitted on Sunday that the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve as a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future.

British Ebola nurse discharged from hospital

18 hours ago

A British nurse who contracted Ebola while working as a volunteer in Sierra Leone said she was "happy to be alive" as she was discharged from hospital on Saturday having made a full recovery.

Tide turning in Ebola fight after hard lessons

Jan 24, 2015

A top U.N. official in the fight against Ebola greeted just three patients at one treatment center he visited this week in Sierra Leone. Families in Liberia are no longer required to cremate the remains of ...

Just five Ebola cases left in Liberia: UN

Jan 24, 2015

The United Nations said on Saturday Liberia was dealing with just five remaining cases of Ebola, in the clearest sign yet that the country is nearing the end of the outbreak.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.