This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

COPD treatment based on invalid trial findings

Patients with respiratory disease are given treatment based on trial data which is not valid for their condition, GPs are being warned.

Some 90 per cent of patients with COPD who take medication do so on the basis of trials for which they would not have been eligible, researchers reported.

The picture is even starker in patients with asthma, with a companion study finding 94 per cent of patients were receiving treatment without meeting criteria for trials.

Both studies were led by Professor Richard Beasley, visiting professor at the University of Southampton and director of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand.

Professor Beasley said: 'A significant number of people in the community with diagnosed and undiagnosed COPD would not meet selection criteria for inclusion as subjects in the trials that inform consensus treatment guidelines.'

Dr Rupert Jones, a GP in Plymouth and head of the respiratory research unit at Peninsula Medical School, said: 'It's always been an important point and it remains an important point.'

The COPD study, published online by Respiratory Medicine, surveyed 749 randomly selected individuals and compared the 117 with COPD to inclusion criteria for trials used in Gold guidelines. The asthma study, appearing early online in Thorax, used data on 179 patients with the disease from the 749 surveyed.

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say