Objective: Severe exacerbations in alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT)-deficient patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and/or emphysema are a major cause of hospitalization. A multicentre, observational, retrospective study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of continuous AAT augmentation therapy in reducing the incidence of exacerbations in these patients.
Methods: Patients treated with Trypsone® or Prolastin® for at least 18 months were recruited if their medical records for 18 months before starting augmentation therapy were available. The number of mild and severe exacerbations in the two periods was compared and hospitalization-related costs were analysed.
Results: A total of 127 patients were recruited; 75 of them experienced at least one exacerbation in the period prior to augmentation. In the treatment period, the mean number of exacerbations per patient was reduced in both the total population and the population with exacerbations (mean ± SD: 1.2 ± 1.6 versus 1.0 ± 2.2 and 2.0 ± 1.6 versus 1.4 ± 2.7, respectively; p < 0.01). The percentage of patients experiencing exacerbations was reduced in the total population (59.1% versus 44.1%; p < 0.05). In the patient subgroup of the total population who experienced a change in their number of exacerbations between the two periods, 43.7% had a reduction and 21.4% had an increase (p < 0.01). The number of severe exacerbations diminished in 42.9% of this subgroup and increased in 12.0% (p < 0.001). Most adverse events were nonserious or not related to treatment. Hospitalization costs savings per patient associated with treatment ranged from approximately € 400 to € 900 (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Augmentation therapy with AAT concentrates was associated with a reduction in the incidence and severity of exacerbations in AAT-deficient patients, which resulted in lower hospitalization expenditures.