Adherence to Action Plan for COPD Exacerbations Reduces Recovery Time

November 4, 2010

Patients who followed a written action plan for exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) had shorter recovery times, reported Canadian researchers.

Patients who followed a written action plan for exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) had shorter recovery times, reported Canadian researchers.

The 1-year prospective cohort study included 252 patients with COPD who were given a written action plan for prompt treatment of exacerbations. Patients were instructed to fill standing prescriptions for both antibiotics and prednisone within 3 days of the onset of an exacerbation.

In about 40% of exacerbations, patients adhered to the plan. Adherence reduced exacerbation recovery time by 5.8 days (P = .0001); however, it had no significant effect on unscheduled use of healthcare resources.

The researchers found that patients who were most likely to adhere to an action plan had been vaccinated against influenza, had a cardiac comorbidity, were younger, or had a lower FEV1 as percentage of predicted.