International journal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 2008; 3 (4) doi:
Affiliation: St Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Abstract: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an epidemic in many parts of the world. Most patients with COPD demonstrate mild disease. The cornerstone of management of mild disease is smoking cessation, which is the only proven intervention to relieve symptoms, modify its natural history and reduce mortality. For asymptomatic patients, it is the only required therapy. Short-acting bronchodilators can be added on an as needed basis for those with intermittent symptoms and regularly for those with persistent symptoms. Long-acting bronchodilators can be substituted for those who remain symptomatic despite regular use of short-acting bronchodilators. Inhaled corticosteroids do not modify the natural history of COPD and as such cannot be recommended as standalone therapy for mild COPD. However, for patients with refractory and intractable symptoms, they may be used in combination with long-acting beta-2 agonists. Influenza and pneumococcal vaccination and pulmonary rehabilitation are other therapies that may be considered for select patients with mild disease. In this paper, we summarize the current standard of care for patients with mild COPD.
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