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Review: inhaled corticosteroids do not reduce mortality but increase pneumonia in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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In patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), what are the harms and benefits of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy?


Included studies compared an ICS with placebo or other inhaled medications in patients ⩾40 years of age with stable COPD. Outcomes were all-cause mortality at 1 and 3 years, pneumonia, and fractures.


Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, Web of Science, and PsycINFO (to Feb 2008); and references were searched for published, double-blind, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with duration ⩾6 months. 11 RCTs (14 comparisons, n = 14 426) met the selection criteria. 8 comparisons were placebo controlled; most other trials compared an ICS plus a long-acting β2 agonist (LABA) with the LABA …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.