Tiotropium significantly improves lung function, dyspnoea and quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) compared to alternative therapy. Previous studies have suggested that tiotropium may be the only treatment other than smoking cessation capable of reversing the symptoms of COPD. These latest findings are further evidence of the drug's potential for treatment of the condition.
Dr Walter Vincken and colleagues from the Academic Hospital University of Brussels, Belgium, examined the effects of tiotropium compared to ipratropium in COPD patients over the period of one year. The group found that dyspnoea was reduced in the tiotropium patients by 31 per cent as compared to 18 per cent in the ipratropium group.
Quality of life measures increased by 52 per cent in the tiotropium group and 35 per cent in the ipratropium group. Moreover, frequency of exacerbations fell by 24 per cent more in the tiotropium group compared to the ipratropium group. This was associated with a reduction in hospitalisations of between 30 and 50 per cent and an increase in time to first exacerbation.
Researchers found that the beneficial effects of tiotropium on lung function persisted over a period of more than 24 hours. The researchers add that, once-daily treatment with tiotropium should be considered an effective first-line treatment for COPD.