Initial use of inhaled corticosteroid therapy is common in patients with Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) A or B chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, contrary to GOLD guidelines. We investigated UK prescribing of inhaled corticosteroid therapy in these patients, to identify predictors of inhaled corticosteroid use in newly diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. A cohort of newly diagnosed GOLD A/B chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients was identified from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (June 2005–June 2015). Patients were classified by prescribed treatment, with those receiving inhaled corticosteroid-containing therapy compared with those receiving long-acting bronchodilators without inhaled corticosteroid. In all, 29,815 patients with spirometry-confirmed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were identified. Of those prescribed maintenance therapy within 3 months of diagnosis, 63% were prescribed inhaled corticosteroid-containing therapy vs. 37% prescribed non-inhaled corticosteroid therapy. FEV1% predicted, concurrent asthma diagnosis, region, and moderate exacerbation were the strongest predictors of inhaled corticosteroid use in the overall cohort. When concurrent asthma patients were excluded, all other co-variates remained significant predictors. Other significant predictors included general practitioner practice, younger age, and co-prescription with short-acting bronchodilators. Trends over time showed that initial inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions reduced throughout the study, but still accounted for 47% of initial prescriptions in 2015. These results suggest that inhaled corticosteroid prescribing in GOLD A/B patients is common, with significant regional variation that is independent of FEV1% predicted.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease