Combo therapy does not affect COPD death rate, but improves breathing, report finds

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The use of a steroid-plus-bronchodilator won't lower the death risk for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but it will likely improve quality of life, according to new research results.

There was no notable difference in the mortality of COPD suffers who used Advair, an inhaled steroid combined with a long-acting bronchodilator, versus those given a placebo, according to researchers at the University of Liverpool and University Hospital Aintree. But researchers who studied more than 6,100 people with the condition noticed a 25% decline in breathing and health problems associated with the progressive, debilitating lung disease.

Study participants were randomly assigned the use of the long-acting bronchodilator salmeterol alone, the inhaled steroid fluticasone propionate alone, salmeterol plus fluticasone in combination (sold as Advair), or a placebo.

The full study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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