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Evid Based Nurs 7:50 doi:10.1136/ebn.7.2.50
  • Treatment

Review: regular inhaled short acting β2 agonists improve lung function in stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Regular inhaled short acting β2 agonists for ⩾7 days v placebo for stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease*

Outcomes at 1–8 weeks Number of trials (n) Weighted mean difference (95% CI)
*FEV1  =  forced expiratory volume in 1 second; FVC  =  forced vital capacity; PEFR  =  peak expiratory flow rate. Other abbreviations defined in glossary.
†Post-bronchodilator; positive numbers favour β2 agonists.
‡Treatment failure  =  number of dropouts because of worsening symptoms.
§Information provided by author.
| |Calculated from relative risk and control event rate in article.
FEV1 (l)† 6 (196) 0.14 (0.04 to 0.25)
FVC (l)† 4 (116) 0.30 (0.02 to 0.58)
Morning PEFR (l/min)† {4 (124)}§ 29.17 (0.25 to 58.09)
Evening PEFR (l/min)† {3 (86)}§ 36.75 (2.56 to 70.94)
Standardised mean difference (CI)
Breathlessness (100 mm visual analogue score) 4 {94}§ 1.33 (1.01 to 1.65)
RRR (CI) NNT (CI)
Treatment failure‡ 5 (198) 51% (27 to 67)| | {5 (3 to 9)}§
RBI (CI)
Patient preference for β2 agonists over placebo 4 (158) {507% (198 to 1135)}§ {3 (2 to 3)}§

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