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Clinical research

Oxygen therapy reduces dyspnoea in COPD patients with mild disease

oxygen therapy COPD 14

Source: Alamy

Researchers based in the US analysed trials of patients with mild or non-hypoxemia COPD to assess the role of home oxygen therapy.

Home oxygen therapy is known to improve survival in severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but its effect on symptoms in patients with less-severe disease is unclear.

To investigate, Amy Abernethy, from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of 18 trials of oxygen therapy in 431 patients with mild or non-hypoxemia COPD, who would not qualify for home oxygen.

The researchers found that continuous oxygen during exertion, but not short-burst therapy, significantly reduced the distressing symptom of dyspnoea, with a clinically relevant treatment effect.

“Data from adequately powered clinical trials, including studies on cost-effectiveness, risk of possible hyperoxia-related adverse effects and fires, and future meta-analyses are needed,” the researchers write in Thorax [1] (online, 3 December 2014).

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20067470

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