The FINANCIAL — A global survey of clinicians and COPD patients released on September 19 shows that the long-term (12-month) impact of exacerbations (also known as lung attacks) is underestimated.
This is despite evidence that the death rate one year after admission to hospital for a COPD exacerbation is worse than that for heart attacks. The survey, ‘Hidden Depths of COPD’, also showed that exacerbations are a major issue for most COPD patients, with nearly 70% of respondents saying they had experienced an exacerbation in the previous 12 months.
The ‘Hidden Depths of COPD’ survey, sponsored by an educational research grant from Nycomed, was conducted in 14 countries among 2,000 COPD patients and 1,400 doctors who manage the condition. It showed that exacerbations affect a patient’s ability to function across a wide range of basic everyday activities and have a profound impact on their social well-being and family-life. They also force patients to seek frequent medical assistance.
The results of the global survey coincide with the presentation of a new data analysis at the European Respiratory Society Congress 2010 in Barcelona examining the impact of Daxas on frequent exacerbations in COPD patients with severe to very severe airflow obstruction, a history of exacerbations and chronic bronchitis. The analysis showed that the rate of frequent exacerbations was consistently lower and the time to exacerbation was significantly longer with Daxas® than with placebo. It also showed the greatest benefit of Daxas was seen in patients with a history of frequent exacerbations (two or more per year).
Professor Neil Barnes of London Chest Hospital, United Kingdom, said: “The results of our survey suggest there is a gap between what patients think of as controlled COPD and the reality they are experiencing. Despite two thirds thinking their COPD was well controlled they still reported suffering from significant numbers of exacerbations and needing to access unplanned treatment. These events can be unpleasant and frightening for patients, and are a particular burden for those who suffer from several of these events in a year.”
The new data analyses presented at ERS include a post hoc analysis of the Daxas (roflumilast) phase III trials showing that fewer patients using Daxas suffered from frequent exacerbations compared to placebo and that time to first, second and third exacerbations was significantly extended.
Professor Fernando Martinez of the University of Michigan, USA, commented: “These results demonstrate that roflumilast provides a new therapeutic option to prevent exacerbations in COPD patients, particularly for those who suffer from them frequently. Frequent exacerbations lead to the deterioration in health and quality of life for patients and affect their long term prognosis. This is why reducing exacerbations remains an important goal of COPD management.”
Håkan Björklund, CEO of Nycomed, said: “The new data announced during ERS underlines the important role that Daxas can play in reducing the frequency of exacerbations in patients with severe COPD. With the launch of Daxas now underway in Germany we look forward to making these benefits available to patients and clinicians across Europe over the next 18 months.”
Daxas (roflumilast) has been approved in the European Union and has recently been launched in Germany, where it will be jointly marketed by Nycomed and MSD (known in the US and Canada as Merck & Co., Inc., based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, USA). Daxas will be launched in eight additional European countries by the end of this year. It is scheduled to be launched in other markets in 2011.