Long-term treatment with inhaled budesonide in persons with mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who continue smoking

RA Pauwels*, CG Lofdahl, LA Laitinen, JP Schouten, DS Postma, NB Pride, SV Ohlsson, European Resp Soc Study Chronic Obstruct Pulm D

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background and Methods Although patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should stop smoking, some do not. In a double-blind, pla cebo-controlled study, we evaluated the effect of the inhaled glucocorticoid budesonide in subjects with mild COPD who continued smoking. After a six-month run-in period, we randomly assigned 1277 subjects (mean age, 52 years; mean forced expiratory volume in one second [FEV1], 77 percent of the predicted value; 73 percent men) to twice-daily treatment with 400 mu g of budesonide or placebo, inhaled from a dry-powder inhaler, for three years.

Results Of the 1277 subjects, 912 (71 percent) completed the study. Among these subjects, the median decline in the FEV1 after the use of a bronchodilator over the th ree-year period was 140 ml in the budesonide group and 180 mi in the placebo group (P=0.05), or 4.3 percent and 5.3 percent of the predicted value, respectively. During the first six months of the study, the FEV1 improved at the rate of 17 mi per year in the budesonide group, as compared with a decline of 81 mi per year in the placebo group (P

Conclusions In persons with mild COPD who continue smoking, the use of inhaled budesonide is associated with a small one-time improvement in lung function but does not appreciably affect the long-term progressive decline. (N Engl J Med 1999;340:1948-53.) (C) 1999, Massachusetts Medical Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1948-1953
Number of pages6
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 24-Jun-1999


  • COPD

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