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COPD is 'vastly' underdiagnosed

Combination therapy of inhaled steroids and long-acting bronchodilators is superior to using the two drugs separately, new research suggests.

Patients using the combination as a step up from inhaled steroids needed rescue medication less often than patients using inhaled steroids and long-acting bronchodilators separately.

Researchers from Liverpool and London followed up 588 patients for 12 months and found just 13.7 per cent on combination therapy needed oral steroids compared with 20.7 per cent for separate drugs. Those taking combination therapy were also half as likely to need to step up medication every day.

Loughborough GP Dr Dermot Ryan, a member of the steering committee of the General Practice Airways Group, said: 'We know giving a combination inhaler is superior to giving the ingredients separately.'

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