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Patient self-management improves COPD outcomes

Self-treatment of COPD exacerbations leads to shorter exacerbations and lower costs, according to Dutch researchers.

Data from 142 patients randomised to either four two-hour self-management sessions or usual care found the frequency and severity of exacerbations was identical in both groups

But patients in the self-management group – who could decide whether to start a prednisolone course with or without antibiotics - reported 9 fewer exacerbation days than controls, at a median of 31 days compared to 40. Self-management was also cheaper than usual care and led to a significant 13% reduction in the likelihood of hospitalisation.

Thorax, published online first 6 September 2009

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