COPD Management Recommendations by GOLD Committee
On World COPD Day (November 16, 2016) updated recommendations for management of those with COPD were released. The group of experts from throughout the world who made the recommendations is called the GOLD committee. GOLD stands for Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.
Pulmonary physicians from the United States on the Board of Directors of GOLD include: Bartolome Celli, M.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Gerald Criner, M.D., of Louis Katz School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
The COPD management recommendations can be found on the website: http://goldcopd.org. The major goals of treatment are to reduce symptoms (shortness of breath) and to reduce the risk of sudden worsening (called an exacerbation).
The following statements summarize the recommendations for personalized treatment of those with stable COPD.
- Long-acting bronchodilators (last 12 – 24 hours) are preferred over short-acting drugs (last 4 – 6 hours) for those with occasional shortness of breath.
- Either one or two long-acting bronchodilators may be used as initial treatment. Increase to two bronchodilators is recommended if improvement is not achieved with one drug. The three approved dual bronchodilators available for prescription in the US are shown below.
- For those who have a history of sudden worsening of COPD (exacerbation), use of an inhaled corticosteroid may be considered in addition to a long-acting beta-agonist bronchodilator (Advair, Symbicort, and Breo).
- For severe hereditary alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, replacement therapy (also called augmentation therapy) should be considered.
- Medicines to suppress coughing (called antitussives) are not recommended.
- If breathing difficulty is severe and disabling, low dose narcotics (opioids like morphine) may be considered.
These COPD management recommendations are based on the results of published clinical trials.