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A landmark study has shown for the first time that inhaled corticosteroids reduce all-cause mortality in patients with COPD.

A pooled analysis of data from seven randomised trials involving 5,085 patients show-ed inhaled corticosteroids reduce all-cause mortality by 27 per cent in stable COPD.

The results, reported in Thorax, show that in women the benefits are even more pronounced with a 54 per cent reduction in all-cause mortality. In former smokers the reduction was 40 per cent.

Experts warned inhaled ster-oids were still underused.

Lead author Dr Don Sin, Canadian research chair in COPD at the University of British Columbia, told Pulse: 'There will continue to be nay-sayers but they are not looking at the data. All symptomatic COPD patients and any patients with lung function 60 per cent or less should be on these lifesaving medications.'

Dr Chris Woodforde, GP fellow in respiratory health at Halton PCT, Cheshire, said: 'People still aren't using ICS as much as they should be. Everybody should have access to them.'

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