Optimizing economic outcomes in the management of COPD

Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2008;3(1):1-10. doi: 10.2147/copd.s671.


Attention to COPD is increasing worldwide because its high prevalence, morbidity, and mortality present a challenging problem for all healthcare systems. The burden of COPD, which is usually measured in terms of progressive lung function decline, impact on patients' symptoms, patient's disability, and quality of life, together with the corresponding use of health care resources, is still a major aspect of the disease. Recommendations to treat COPD according to the most accepted guidelines have expanded in recent years even though COPD still remains unacceptably under-diagnosed and under-treated worldwide. Obviously, more severe degrees of COPD receive major attention both in terms of monitoring of clinical outcomes and of assessing the economic value of therapeutic interventions. The role of different strategies against COPD should be valued on the basis of their effectiveness in outcome optimization, which primarily depends on the efficacy of prevention activities and of early diagnosis programs. It is generally agreed that the main proportion of COPD burden still depends on the clinically uncontrolled disease and on its high exacerbation rate, which frequently leads to the patient hospitalization. In COPD, the effects of guideline recommendations have been only sporadically investigated in pharmaoeconomic terms, even though symptoms and disability have declined substantially; the corresponding improvement in quality of life, and a significant decrease in both direct and indirect costs have been proved to depend on appropriate rehabilitative and pharmacological long-term treatment of the disease. At present, more precise indices and more fitting outcomes are continuously sought and found in order to assess more effective strategies for controlling COPD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / economics
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome