Effectiveness of Treatment With Dual Bronchodilation (LABA/LAMA) Compared With Combination Therapy (LABA/ICS) for Patients With COPD: A Population-Based Study

Arch Bronconeumol. 2022 Oct;58(10):699-707. doi: 10.1016/j.arbres.2022.05.002. Epub 2022 May 13.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Background: Initiation of treatment of COPD with a combination of a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) and an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) is frequent irrespective of the risk of exacerbations.

Method: We performed a retrospective, population-based, observational study aimed at comparing the effectiveness of a LABA/long-acting antimuscarinic agent (LAMA) and LABA/ICS in patients with COPD over a one-year follow-up. Data were obtained from an administrative healthcare claims database. The primary outcome was the risk of first exacerbation. A sensitivity analysis was conducted in a propensity-score matched population.

Results: The population consisted of 14,046 COPD patients; 11,329 (80.6%) initiated LABA/ICS and 2717 (19.4%) LABA/LAMA. The matched population included 1650 patients in each arm. During follow-up, 69.6% patients in the LABA/ICS group and 64.4% in the LABA/LAMA group presented an exacerbation. The mean time to the first exacerbation was 6.03 months (95% confidence interval (CI): 5.94-6.12) for LABA/ICS and 6.4 months (95%CI: 6.21-6.59) for LABA/LAMA; p<0.001. The time to scalation to triple therapy was also significantly prolonged in LABA/LAMA. Similar results were obtained in the matched population. LABA/LAMA was associated with a significantly lower risk of exacerbations and escalation to triple therapy compared to LABA/ICS, except in patients with frequent exacerbations and high blood eosinophils in which no differences were observed in the time to first exacerbation.

Conclusion: Initiation of treatment with LABA/LAMA was associated with a lower risk of exacerbation and escalation to triple therapy compared to LABA/ICS in the majority of patients with COPD in primary care.

Keywords: COPD; Effectiveness; Inhaled corticosteroids; Long-acting bronchodilators; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adrenergic beta-2 Receptor Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Eosinophilia*
  • Humans
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Adrenergic beta-2 Receptor Agonists
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Muscarinic Antagonists