Is prednisone good for COPD

Smoker's lung or smoker's cough are slang terms for the incurable respiratory disease COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide after heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia. It can be assumed that the disease will spread and mortality will continue to increase in the coming years. As many COPD patients experience in winter, an infection of the respiratory tract - especially a cold - is often responsible for an acute worsening of shortness of breath, for increased coughing and sputum. In many cases, a cold can lead to hospitalization. Correspondingly, deterioration in COPD leads to a reduction in quality of life and high health costs for those affected.

Researchers at the University Hospital Basel (USB) have now succeeded in counteracting this deterioration. In a clinical study they were able to show that a targeted, short-term increase in the dose of cortisone can prevent many hospital stays in the case of colds. 450 COPD patients were included in the study financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation. They were treated with bronchodilator drugs and inhaled cortisone. However, a lower dose of cortisone than usual was chosen. If a cold developed, the dose of cortisone was increased for ten days or a dummy drug was given.

Less medication, more quality of life

The Basel research team found that patients who inhaled additional cortisone and took bronchodilator drugs while having a cold had to go to hospital three times less than those who received a placebo. This particularly affected people with severe COPD. In addition, the amount of antibiotics and corticosteroid tablets during the treatments could be significantly reduced.

Study director Prof. Daiana Stolz, senior physician pulmonology at the USB, says: “The results are very important. We had to give less medication to treat colds and were able to improve the quality of life and prognosis of COPD patients with a targeted, short-term increase in the dose of cortisone. This procedure is effective, inexpensive and can be used in every family doctor's practice. " Prof. Stolz assumes that the results of the study will have an impact on the international guidelines for COPD treatment.

The results of the multicenter study were recently published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The American trade magazine is considered the world's most important scientific journal on the subject of lungs.
Link to the study: https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1164/rccm.201709-1807OC