Managing Acute Exacerbations of COPD

Alla Marks, PharmD, MBA


US Pharmacist. 2009;34(7):HS-11- HS-15. 

In This Article


Exacerbations are an important outcome measure in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to their profound effect on the patient's quality of life and prognosis. It has been estimated that patients with COPD suffer one to four exacerbations per year, and up to 70% of the direct health care costs associated with the disease are due to severe exacerbations, particularly those requiring hospitalization.[1,2] Less than one-third of exacerbations are reported, and although some may not be serious enough to warrant an emergency visit or hospitalization, they have been shown to have an important impact on the patient's health status.[3] Exacerbations are not random events but cluster together in time such that there is a high-risk period for recurrence in the 8-week period after an initial exacerbation.[4] They also become more frequent and severe as the severity of the underlying COPD increases and contribute to further impairment in lung function.[5]


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.