Study shows pros and cons of triple therapy in COPD

The combination cuts exacerbations but is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia

Triple therapy reduces exacerbations and improves lung function and quality of life more than dual and monotherapy therapy in advanced COPD, but it does not improve survival and is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia, a study shows.

Triple therapy — a combination of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), LABAs and long-acting muscarinic receptor antagonists (LAMAs) — is recommended by the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease for patients with exacerbations after treatment with LABAs and LAMAs.

Previous meta-analyses have not shown clear evidence that triple therapy is more effective than dual therapy for preventing exacerbations, the researchers say, and no reviews have included studies of triple therapy with a fixed-dose combination inhaler.

The new Chinese-led meta-analysis includes 21 trials: six with fixed triple therapy and 15 with three