Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is now the fourth leading cause of death, affects an estimated 24 million Americans, and accounts for over ten million physician and emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalisations each year. The diagnosis and management of COPD falls largely to primary care practitioners. Previously, COPD management options were limited, but newer treatments have been shown to slow lung deterioration, reduce symptoms and preserve quality of life. Combination therapy with an inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting beta2-agonist (ICS/LABA) is an effective therapy for COPD that, compared to other therapies, has been shown to reduce exacerbations, hospitalisations, ED visits and health care costs. This review focuses on the role of combination ICS/LABA therapy in managing COPD, including indications, potential benefits and considerations that affect therapy decisions.