Two Thirds of Family Doctors Believe COPD will be the Leading Cause of Death in 2020

    San Diego, California (ots/PRNewswire) -

    - For Accredited International Healthcare Journalists Only

    - Management of Exacerbations `Crucial' to Reduce COPD Mortality

    Survey results from the `Time to Live' report, presented today at the American Thoracic Society International Congress, show over two thirds of primary care physicians (66%) fear COPD will be the leading cause of death in 2020 despite almost all (98%) believing that there are effective treatments available for this condition[1].

    COPD is a major cause of death worldwide, and, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), is currently the fourth most common cause of death after cancer, ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease[2]. Of these diseases, only COPD shows increasing rates of mortality - the WHO estimate COPD will become the third most common cause of death by 2020. However, today's results suggest the WHO may have underestimated the extent to which COPD prevalence will increase, according to European physicians at the front line of COPD management.

    The survey elements of the `Time to Live' report, comprising structured telephone interviews of primary care physicians in five European countries (Germany, France, UK, Italy and Spain), shows 73% consider reduced hospitalisations are crucial for the well being of COPD patients - a statistic reinforced by previous studies showing between 22% - 43% of COPD patients hospitalised due to an exacerbation will die within one year [3,4,5,6.]

    Around 90% of the general practitioners questioned believe prevention of exacerbations should be a prominent consideration in choosing a patient's COPD therapy, with a similar number believing reduced exacerbations are essential to improve patients' health-related quality of life - ultimately in reducing the risk of COPD prevalence rates exceeding WHO predictions over the next 14 years.

    68% believe that inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) should be considered at an early stage in therapy. Half of those questioned suggest patients be prescribed either an ICS or a combination therapy such as ICS and long-acting beta 2 agonist (LABA) to minimise the likelihood and impact of exacerbations.

    "These results provide further evidence of the crucial impact of preventing and managing COPD exacerbations and the subsequent impact this has on patients' health-related quality of life," explained `Time to Live' author Dr John Haughney, a General Practitioner in Scotland and Chairman of the UK General Practice Airways Group. "The survey also highlights the need for effective treatments such as ICS / LABA combinations, which have been proven to reduce patient exacerbations, important factors in reducing the risk of hospitalisations and subsequent mortality associated with COPD", he continued.

    The Time to Live survey was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca are the manufacturers of Symbicort(R), a combination of the inhaled corticosteroid budesonide and rapid- and long-acting beta-agonist formoterol, which is indicated for the treatment of COPD and asthma


    1) Primary Care Physicians' Perception and Practice in Management of COPD Patients (results from the Time to Live report), scheduled for presentation at ATS, May 21, 2006


    3) Eriksen N, et al. Ugeskr Laeger 2003;165:3499-3502

    4) Groenewegen KH, et al. Chest 2003;124:459-467

    5) Almagro P, et al. Chest 2002;121:1441-1448

    6) Connors AF, et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1996;154:959-967

ots Originaltext: AstraZeneca
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interview with a member of the `Time to Live' study team, please do
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