The goal of this qualitative study was to increase our understanding of the importance of various attributes of the medications used in the maintenance treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Focus groups with COPD patients were conducted to obtain patient perspectives on COPD symptoms and maintenance medications to identify important attributes of patient preferences for maintenance medications. Participants were aged at least 40 years, with a clinical diagnosis of moderate to severe COPD and evidence of dyspnea, and currently on prescription COPD maintenance therapy. A semi-structured interview guide ensured consistency among discussions and included questions about disease experiences, benefits and disadvantages of current and past medications, and preferences. Two focus groups were conducted with a total of 13 COPD patients (7 and 6 patients/session) at a US pulmonology clinic. Groups were led by a trained moderator with research experience in COPD. Session transcripts were evaluated using qualitative data analysis methods to summarize patient medication preferences.
Patients noted typical COPD symptoms, including shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, cough, mucus, and fatigue, with symptoms worsening upon exertion. While medication efficacy/symptom relief was paramount, patients also wanted maintenance medication to work quickly (have a fast onset of action) in relieving symptoms. Comfort with delivery system/mode of administration also was key, while dosing frequency was less of a concern. Side effects/adverse events commonly associated with medication use were also noted. Adequate maintenance medication treatment should help to reduce the need for rescue inhalers. Patients used rescue inhalers more often on bad days and liked them because they provided immediate relief for sudden symptoms.
While efficacy is clearly important to patients for COPD maintenance medication, other attributes are also meaningful, including speed of onset and comfort with the delivery system.
Long-acting/maintenance medications for COPD, in addition to short-acting rescue inhalers, are an integral part of a COPD treatment regimen. Information on features of maintenance medications important to patients can help improve medication adherence and aid in successful treatment outcomes.
Ariane Kawata, Employee AKK, LK, and GH are employees of United BioSource Corporation. SR is an employee of AstraZeneca.; Other This study was sponsored by AstraZeneca.; No Product/Research Disclosure Information