Meilan K Han MD, MS Henry Sewall Professor of Medicine Professor of Internal Medicine and Section Head Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical School University of Michigan

COPD: Inhalers Don’t Always Work for Smokers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Meilan K Han MD, MS Henry Sewall Professor of Medicine Professor of Internal Medicine and Section Head Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical School University of Michigan

Dr. Han

Meilan K Han MD, MS
Henry Sewall Professor of Medicine
Professor of Internal Medicine and Section Head
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical School
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In the NIH sponsored SPIROMICS study we demonstrated that symptomatic, tobacco exposed individuals have frequent exacerbations. Many of these individuals are treated with the same inhaled medications that have shown benefit in COPD, but we don’t have any evidence basis for this practice.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response:  The first is that we can’t assume patients have COPD without doing spirometry. Only about a third of patients in the US with a diagnosis of COPD have had confirmatory spirometry. Pulmonary function testing helps us know which patients benefit from long acting bronchodilators.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?

Response:  The patient population we studied in the RETHINC trial needs to be tested with different types of medications, other than bronchodilators, to see how we can improve their symptoms. In the SPIROMICS study, we showed they have elevated mucin concentrations in their sputum which might be one potential drug target.

Any disclosures? Novartis provided medication for this study. The NIH and COPD Foundation funded the study.

Citation:

Bronchodilators in Tobacco-Exposed Persons with Symptoms and Preserved Lung Function M.K. Han, W. Ye, D. Wang, E. White, M. Arjomandi, I.Z. Barjaktarevic, S.-A. Brown, R.G. Buhr, A.P. Comellas, C.B. Cooper, G.J. Criner, M.T. Dransfield, F. Drescher, R.J. Folz, N.N. Hansel, R.J. Kaner, R.E. Kanner, J.A. Krishnan, S.C. Lazarus, V. Maddipati, F.J. Martinez, A. Mathews, C. Meldrum, C. McEvoy, T. Nyunoya, L. Rogers, W.W. Stringer, C.H. Wendt, R.A. Wise, S.R. Wisniewski, F.C. Sciurba, and P.G. Woodruff, for the RETHINC Study Group*

Han MK, Ye W, Wang D, et al. Bronchodilators in symptomatic tobacco-exposed persons with preserved spirometry for the RETHINC study group. N Engl J Med. 2022; doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2204752. 

DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2204752

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