The 2019 Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) report made recommendations for the assessment, initial and subsequent treatment chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) based on biomarkers, including blood eosinophil counts.
We evaluated the distribution of UK COPD patients initiating maintenance therapy and established patients by GOLD group, the prevalence of comorbidities and appropriateness of therapy using electronic patient records from the Optimum Patient Care Research Database (OPCRD). Changes in effective GOLD group, therapy and exacerbation rates over the next 2 years were analysed.
11,409 established COPD patients and 699 starting therapy were studied. 44·3%, 25·7%, 13·8% & 16·2% of established COPD patients and 45·2%, 28·5%, 15·7% & 10·6% initiating therapy were in GOLD groups A, B, C & D respectively.
The overall proportion in each GOLD group was similar after 2 years but there was substantial movement of patients between groups. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease were the most common comorbidities in all groups in both cohorts.
LAMA monotherapy was the commonest initial therapy in all GOLD groups. In both cohorts there was over-treatment with escalation, de-escalation or switching in nearly 50% during follow-up.
In both cohorts, exacerbation rates were highest in group D and appeared higher in over-treated patients.
Most patients are not at risk of exacerbations and co-morbidities are common. Many patients change effective GOLD group and therapy over time. Prescribing is not in accordance with guideline recommendations and many patients still appear over treated.