For older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), combination therapy with long-acting ?-agonists (LABAs) and inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) produces better outcomes than treatment with LABAs alone, a new study suggests.

The salutary effect of LABAs and ICSs was even more pronounced in subgroups of patients who had asthma or who were not taking long-acting anticholinergic drugs (LAAs).

These findings could have a real effect on everyday clinical practice, the authors write. “Our finding of an association between LABAs and ICSs and outcomes helps clarify the management of patients with COPD and asthma, as many studies of COPD medications have excluded people with asthma and vice versa,” the authors write.

“In addition, practice guidelines for COPD recommend that LABAs be considered first-line treatment while asthma guidelines warn against use of LABAs without ICSs. Our findings also offer insight into the optimal treatment of COPD patients without asthma — those who would not be considered especially corticosteroid responsive.”