While recent studies have shed some doubt about the benefits of using inhaled corticosteroids as a top-line treatment for COPD, a recent review of studies confirms they do, indeed, benefit COPD patients. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are medicines that work to reduce inflammation in COPD lungs; thus, making airways less sensitive to COPD triggers. Common inhalers that deliver inhaled steroids to COPD lungs include Qvar, Advair, Symbicort, and Breo. Pulmicort may be delivered using a nebulizer. While typically considered top-line COPD medicines, various studies have linked inhaled corticosteroids with pneumonia. Other studies show they don’t even reduce COPD flare-ups. So this left many physicians wondering if the benefits were worth the risks.
A new study, however, reported at the 2015 American Thoracic Society Conference in Denver, shines the light back in the other corner, indicating that, yes indeed, ICS do benefit COPD patients. The study was a material analysis study, meaning that results from over 29 randomized trials and observational studies were analyzed.