Researchers from Canada showed that interruption of inhaled corticosteroid therapy in COPD patients may lead to significant reduction in the risk of serious pneumonia, according to a study published in Chest.

The researchers found that stopping treatment with patients with COPD who stopped using inhaled corticosteroids were associated with a 25% decrease in the rate of severe pneumonia. This reduction went from 20% in the first month to 50% by the fourth month after stopping the treatment. This decrease was significantly evident with fluticasone, a corticosteroid, but less with budesonide, a glucocorticoid steroid.

“Thus, we conclude that limiting the use of ICS to the patients with COPD who are likely to benefit, such as patients with an asthma component, and weaning the others off ICS will result in a major reduction in the risk of serious pneumonia,” wrote the researchers.