Prompt initiation of maintenance therapy following hospitalization for COPD exacerbations reduced costs for COPD patients who needed hospitalization or visited the emergency department.

In the United States, it’s estimated that COPD has $75 billion in annual costs for a nationally representative population, and $15.7 billion for commercially insured patients. Direct health care costs account for 39% to 73% of these total costs, with hospitalization being a major part of it.

In fact, patients with COPD exacerbations have 10 times the annual healthcare costs as patients without exacerbations. According to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines, a central component in managing patients with moderate-to-severe COPD are therapies, such as long-acting ?2-agonists (LABAs), long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs), and inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).

Research has shown that the initiation of MT with these agents was beneficial for these patients, and reduced hospitalization and exacerbations. However, there has only been 1 empirical study to show the importance of MT initiation timing.

In the current study, the primary objective was to compare the impact of prompt versus delayed MT initiation following a COPD exacerbation that required hospitalization or an emergency department (ED) visit on COPD-related costs.

The observational cohort study used data from the retrospective databases called Truven Health MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database (commercial) and Medicare Supplemental and Coordination of Benefits Database (Medicare supplement). Researchers used patients with COPD exacerbations that resulted in hospitalization or ED visits.

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