Background: Methylxanthines and leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRA) are not a first-line medical treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but are frequently prescribed despite limited evidence. We aimed to elucidate the real prescribing status and clinical impacts of these agents in early COPD patients.
Methods: Patients with mild-to-moderate COPD (FEV1>50%) were selected from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data between 2007 and 2012. Besides analyzing the prescription status of methylxanthines and LTRA and the contributing factors to the prescription, we evaluated the clinical impacts of these drugs on the exacerbation, hospitalization, and medical costs.
Results: Of 2269 patients with mild-to-moderate COPD, 378 patients (16.7%) were under medical treatments, and the users of methylxanthines and/or LTRA were 279 patients (12.3%); however, only 139 patients (6.1%) were inhaler users. The contributing factors for the prescription of methylxanthines were a comorbidity of asthma or allergic disease, poor lung function, low quality of life, prescribing doctor from the specialty of internal medicine, and an institution type of private hospital. The prescription of LTRA was associated with the comorbidity of allergic disease. The methylxanthine and/or LTRA users had more hospital utilization but did not have significant differences in acute exacerbations and medical cost for hospital utilization, compared with the non-users.
Conclusion: Methylxanthines and LTRA were used in a significant proportion of patients with mild-to-moderate COPD in real fields without favorable impacts on the exacerbations, hospitalizations, or medical costs. The use of more effective inhaled medications should be encouraged.
Keywords: chronic obstructive; drug prescriptions; leukotriene antagonists; methylxanthine; pulmonary disease.
© 2019 Lee et al.