Etanercept, a tumor necrosis factor ? (TNF?) antagonist, wasn’t any more effective in treating acute exacerbations of COPD than prednisone, the current standard therapy, according to the results of a new study. Researchers found that the efficacy of prednisone was most apparent in patients who presented with serum eosinophils of more than 2%.

Investigators randomly assigned 81 patients with acute COPD exacerbations to receive either daily oral prednisone 40 mg for 10 days or subcutaneous etanercept 50 mg given at randomization and 1 week later. All participants also received levofloxacin for 10 days plus inhaled bronchodilators.

There was no significant difference between the etanercept and prednisone groups from baseline in FEV1 after 14 days. There were also no significant differences between the etanercept and prednisone groups regarding the secondary endpoints of change from baseline in FEV1 at 7, 30 or 90 days, or the proportion of patients who experienced a treatment failure by 90 days. Time to treatment failure was also not significantly different between the two groups.