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COPD vs. Asthma: Key Inflammatory Differences Include Steroid Response

KEY POINT

While often confused in practice, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders and asthma are the result of markedly different pathophysiologic processes. This leads to major differences in cellular effects and proper treatments. In particular, long-term corticosteroids have no appreciable effect on the progression of COPD. They do, however, seem to produce short-term benefits and improve the quality of patients’ lives.

SOURCES

Barnes PJ. Mechanisms in COPD: differences from asthma. Chest. 2000;117:10S–14S.

Burge PS et al. Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study of fluticasone propionate in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the ISOLIDE trial. BMJ. 2000;320:1297–303.