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Major COPD trial falls short of proof of survival benefits

The first study to show benefits for medication on COPD survival has been published, although the results fell short of statistical significance.

A combination of salmeterol and fluticasone propionate appeared to reduce the risk of dying by 17.5 per cent compared with placebo, but not significantly so.

The TORCH study of more than 6,000 patients is published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week after preliminary data were reported by Pulse last year.

The research team defended their study, insisting it was still an important finding.

Lead investigator Professor Peter Calverley, professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Liverpool, said: 'This is the first time a study has been carried out to investigate whether a medicine can have an impact on both survival and improvements in quality of life in COPD. We believe these results are clinically important.'

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