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    Respiratory tract diseases

    The latest learning and CPD content is categorised by asthma, COPD and respiratory tract infections. Under ‘Other resources’ you will find all our other content related to respiratory tract diseases.


    Illustration showing the different types of asthma inhalers: From left, MDI inhaler, turbohaler, autohaler and accuhaler

    How to help patients optimise their inhaler techniqueSubscription

    27 JUL 2016By

    Examining the impact of sub-optimal inhaler technique and how healthcare professionals can support patients in optimising their technique.

    Inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) are indicated in the management of most patients with asthma and some patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the image, a scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showing alveoli and pulmonary blood vessels

    Inhaled corticosteroids: managing side effectsSubscription

    18 FEB 2015By

    Inhaled corticosteroids are commonly prescribed but need careful management to minimise the risk of side effects.

    Asthma management is based on a stepwise approach that should see medicines added or stopped based on patient symptoms

    Asthma: long-term managementSubscription

    21 NOV 2014By , ,

    Asthma management is based on a stepwise approach that should see medicines added or stopped based on patient symptoms.

    Scintigram of a lung of a person suffering from asthma, a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways

    Asthma: pathophysiology, causes and diagnosisSubscription

    21 NOV 2014By , ,

    Despite asthma affecting more than 5.4 million people in the UK, there is no gold standard test and diagnosis is based on signs and symptoms.


    Theophylline interactionsSubscription

    The Pharmaceutical Journal, 12 July 2014, Vol 293, No 7818By , ,

    Can someone start nicotine replacement therapy while taking theophylline to manage COPD?

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

    Illustration of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: clinical phenotypes and implications for managementSubscription

    10 JUN 2016By ,

    Phenotyping patients with chronic obsructive pulmonary disease allows their separation into distinct categories that differentiate their prognosis and response to treatment, producing clinically meaningful outcomes.

    Emergency oxygen treatment is used two million times a year by ambulance services, and almost one in five hospital patients in the UK are being treated with oxygen at any one time.

    Oxygen therapy: emergency use and long term treatmentSubscription

    26 JUN 2015By , ,

    Emergency oxygen treatment is used two million times a year by ambulance services, and almost one in five hospital patients in the UK are being treated with oxygen at any one time.

    COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (answers)Subscription

    The Pharmaceutical Journal, February 2011

    December 2010’s Lifelong Learning questions are based on the CLINICALFOCUS articles on Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)The questions can be viewed/printedThis online module is closed


    Stroke: classification and diagnosisSubscription

    Clinical Pharmacist, 2011By , ,

    Slurred speech, facial droop and arm weakness — it is critical that all healthcare professionals are alert for these signs of stroke to ensure that patients displaying them receive treatment quickly

    Award-winning pharmacist-led COPD clinic to offer bespoke drug treatmentSubscription

    The Pharmaceutical Journal, December 2010

    A pharmacist-led chronic obstructive pulmonary disease clinic has led to remarkably improved outcomes for patients in the north east of England, and has shown some unexpected benefits.Ailsa Colquhoun spoke to the clinical pharmacist responsibleSee Best practice  

    Respiratory tract infections

    Case-based learning: Sore throat

    Case-based learning: sore throatSubscription

    17 SEP 2019By

    Most sore throats are caused by viral infections and get better within a week through self-care. However, it is important to recognise when a sore throat is a symptom of a more serious illness.


    Case-based learning: cough Subscription

    13 AUG 2019By

    Most coughs are acute and self-limiting; however, it is important to understand when a cough becomes clinically significant.

    Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

    Diagnosis and management of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosisSubscription

    5 APR 2019By ,

    Pharmacists can play a vital role in the diagnosis and management of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and can help improve outcomes and the burden of disease.

    Scanning electron microscope of lung tissue

    Diagnosis and management of hospital-acquired pneumonia in older adults Subscription

    6 FEB 2018By

    Hospital‑acquired pneumonia increases the length of in-patient hospital stay and is associated with high mortality rates, particularly in older people. Pharmacists and healthcare professionals need to know how to diagnose and manage the condition, and be cognisant of the gaps in the evidence base.

    Bronchiectasis, light photomicrograph showing dilated and distorted bronchus containing pus

    Bronchiectasis: diagnosis, treatment and managementSubscription

    7 NOV 2017By ,

    Bronchiectasis is a common chronic disease where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened. Patients present with recurrent cough, sputum production and are at risk of respiratory tract infections. Pharmacists and healthcare professionals need to be aware of the latest management strategies.

    Stephen Hawking, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, during a TED conference

    What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?Subscription

    Clinical Pharmacist, September 2014, Vol 6, No 7By ,

    The ‘ice bucket challenge’ was started to raise awareness of ALS; find out more about this fatal neurodegenerative condition.

    Pneumonia: CAP, HAP and other typesSubscription

    The Pharmaceutical Journal, 18 January 2014, Vol 292, No 7793By

    Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of mortality with four million deaths worldwide each year. This article consolidates your knowledge of symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

    Managing pneumocystis pneumoniaSubscription

    The Pharmaceutical Journal, April 2013By

    A 34-year-old Hispanic, 60kg man with a recent diagnosis of HIV and dysphasia presented to the on-call service at his local HIV clinic, complaining of hoarseness (dysphonia), fevers, night sweats, lethargy, dizziness, weight loss and loss of appetite, thirst, occasional cough, enlarging skin plaques, cognitive ...

    Other resources

    Pregnant lady holding abdomen

    Asthma exacerbations during pregnancy linked to birth complicationsSubscription

    2 JAN 2020

    Women with asthma who experience exacerbations during pregnancy are more likely to have birth complications than women with well-controlled asthma, a study published in the European Respiratory Journal has suggested.

    asthma inhaler

    Switching from MDIs could reduce carbon impact of inhalers and save money Subscription

    6 DEC 2019

    Switching patients who use metered-dose inhalers, which contain hydrofluoroalkane propellants, to cheaper, more environmentally friendly alternatives could lead to major cost savings, as well as reduced NHS greenhouse gas emissions.

    Asthma inhaler

    Switching inhalers can boost adherenceSubscription

    5 SEP 2019

    Inhaler switching in asthma and COPD is not associated with negative impacts on patients’ health, study results published in Thorax have shown.

    Pregnant woman taking a tablet

    Painkiller link to childhood asthma unlikely to be causal, researchers saySubscription

    15 APR 2019

    A previously reported association between analgesic use in pregnancy and childhood asthma is likely to result from confounding factors, researchers have concluded.

    Obese child with bronchodilator mask

    Obesity increases risk of childhood asthma by 29%, say researchersSubscription

    2 JAN 2019

    Obesity is a major preventable cause of childhood asthma, conclude the authors of a study published in Paediatrics.

    Lung function testing

    Asthma care in England needs to be more proactive, researchers saySubscription

    10 SEP 2018

    An audit of data from Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group in England has found inconsistencies in asthma care that could leave high-risk patients unidentified and at risk of death.

    Healthy foods

    Healthy diet linked to improved asthma symptomsSubscription

    7 SEP 2018

    Research across a large cohort using three different quality measures has shown that a healthy diet is associated with a reduced likelihood of experiencing asthma symptoms.

    Explaining how to use asthma inhaler

    Testing annual asthma reviews for those who fail to attend: proof-of-concept studySubscription

    3 AUG 2018By , , , , , , ,

    Asthma is one of the most common respiratory conditions in the UK. Around 30% of asthma patients fail to attend their annual asthma review, which leads to an increase in the number of preventable asthma-related hospital admissions. By using SIMPLE methodology and the PharmOutcomes® web-based system on 27 patients, it was determined that the community pharmacy asthma review service would enhance patient care through close collaboration with GP surgeries.

    antibiotic packets

    Point-of-care testing cuts antibiotic use in COPDSubscription

    17 SEP 2019

    Point-of-care C-reactive protein testing reduces antibiotic use in people with acute COPD exacerbations, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine has shown.

    Man doing spirometry test for COPD

    Triple therapy cuts exacerbations in COPD regardless of baseline reversibilitySubscription

    28 NOV 2018

    Triple therapy reduces the number of moderate-to-severe exacerbations in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a study presented at the CHEST annual meeting has shown.

    Statins packet

    Lack of evidence to support statin use in non-cardiovascular conditionsSubscription

    6 NOV 2018

    There is a lack of ‘convincing’ evidence that statins improve outcomes in non-cardiovascular conditions, such as diabetes, a review has shown.

    patient with inhaler for COPD

    Role of dual and triple fixed-dose combination inhalers in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseaseSubscription

    5 NOV 2018By ,

    A review of the current evidence, including the safety and efficacy of dual and triple-combination inhalers for the treatment of stable COPD, and their place in therapy.

    Senior person holding a lit cigarette

    Older smokers more likely to become frail than non-smokersSubscription

    5 OCT 2017

    Study shows that current smokers, aged 60 years or older, had a 60% greater odds of becoming frail during follow-up compared with non-smokers.

    Montage of COPD, research and a drop in funding

    Inadequate funding hampers research into chronic obstructive pulmonary diseaseSubscription

    10 NOV 2016By

    A lack of funding for research into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as difficulties in conducting clinical trials, make finding new treatments for this respiratory condition challenging. But there are glimmers of hope, such as reversing steroid resistance and identifying subpopulations of patients in order to speed up clinical trials.


    Enzyme mouth spray could shorten cold durationSubscription

    1 MAR 2019

    An oral spray containing a proteolytic enzyme reduced the severity and duration of the common cold, a randomised study has found.

    Child blowing his nose

    Antibiotics 'do not cut hospitalisation risk' in children with respiratory infectionsSubscription

    3 OCT 2018

    Analysis of children presenting in primary care has found that delaying or withholding antibiotics is the most appropriate way of treating suspected respiratory tract infections.

    X-ray of a patient's lungs with pneumonia

    Proton pump inhibitors linked to pneumonia risk beyond first year of useSubscription

    20 JUN 2018

    Research into long-term proton pump inhibitor use among older adults has led to cautions over pneumonia risk.

    Toddler with inhaler mask

    Narrow-spectrum antibiotics favourable for paediatric respiratory infections, researchers saySubscription

    20 MAR 2018

    Research has shown that broad-spectrum antibiotics are associated with slightly worse quality of life in children compared with narrow-spectrum antibiotics, without providing a significant benefit

    Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of rhinoviruses particles infecting nasal epithelial cells of the nose

    Naturally occurring peptides show antiviral potential against common coldSubscription

    12 SEP 2017

    Cathelicidins could be a new therapeutic strategy for the management of human rhinovirus infection, researchers suggest.

    Hand holding vaccine bottle with rhinovirus vaccine (RV14)

    Rhinovirus vaccine development is about more than fighting coldsSubscription

    8 JUN 2017By

    Rhinovirus, the pathogen behind the common cold, can cause severe, acute lung disease in children and those with underlying respiratory conditions. Since the 1970s, vaccine development has been hindered by the presence of numerous virus serotypes and the lack of a good animal model to test vaccine candidates. However, several different research groups are now making good progress on rhinovirus vaccines, using a variety of different techniques.


    Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can find guidance from The Pharmaceutical Journal on completing the relevant records to meet the General Pharmaceutical Council requirements, as well as support on the scope of activity that could be included in these records here.