Nearly half of patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) participating in a prospective, pilot study overused their as-needed short-acting beta-agonist (SABA) bronchodilators. During 3 months of observation, close to one in five (19%) study participants with moderate to severe, but stable, COPD overused their albuterol SABA inhalers more than half of the days.

Overuse was associated with more severe COPD and greater use of home oxygen therapy and dyspnea, reported researcher Vincent S. Fan, MD, of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, and colleagues. Their study was published online ahead of print in Respiratory Medicine.