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COPD Drug Adherence Rates Among Patients on Various Combo Therapies

October 01, 2020

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who initiated combination treatment with umeclidinium/vilanterol had better medication adherence and were less likely to need rescue medication compared with patients who started with budesonide/formoterol, according to a study published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. 

“Based on this, our results suggest that patients treated with umeclidinium/vilanterol might have better control of their COPD symptoms than patients treated with budesonide/formoterol,” wrote researchers from GlaxoSmithKline.

The retrospective observational study included patients diagnosed with COPD, but not asthma and without any recent COPD flare-ups, who were starting maintenance therapy. Researchers evaluated data from a commercial insurance and Medicare Advantage database for 4082 patients taking umeclidinium/vilanterol and 9529 patients taking budesonide/formoterol. 

According to the study, patients taking umeclidinium/vilanterol had a significantly greater average proportion of days covered and significantly higher rates of medication adherence compared with patients taking budesonide/formoterol.

Additionally, a significantly smaller proportion of patients taking umeclidinium/vilanterol filled any rescue medications the year after initiating treatment, the study found. When they did require rescue medication, patients taking umeclidinium/vilanterol filled an estimated 17% fewer rescue medication canister equivalents than patients initiating budesonide/formoterol. 

“We calculated that the −0.37-unit difference in rescue medication use [between patient groups] in this study corresponds to a reduction of approximately 3 months’ supply over the entire follow-up period,” researchers wrote. 

Jolynn Tumolo 


Moretz C, Cole AL, Mu G, et al. Evaluation of Medication Adherence and Rescue Medication Use in Non-Exacerbating Patients with COPD Receiving Umeclidinium/Vilanterol or Budesonide/Formoterol as Initial Maintenance Therapy. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2020;15:2207-2215. Published 2020 Sep 16. doi:10.2147/COPD.S259850

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