Nebulizer therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) receives high marks from patients and their caregivers, according to the results of 2 separate surveys presented at Chest 2010.
Inhalation therapy is a cornerstone of the treatment of COPD, because it is a targeted mode of delivery, produces high local concentrations of the active drug, and lessens systemic exposure. Several devices for inhalation therapy are available, including metered-dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers, and nebulizers.
Caregivers Acknowledge Benefits of Nebulization
In the first survey, 400 caregivers of patients with COPD who are currently using nebulized therapy were interviewed over the telephone. “The majority of caregivers recognized the benefits of nebulization therapy and its positive impact on the quality of life of their friend or family member with COPD,” said lead investigator Amir Sharafkhaneh, MD, PhD, DABSM, Associate Professor of Medicine, Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
Among the caregivers, 92% expressed satisfaction with nebulized treatment, 80% rated a nebulizer as better than using only an inhaler, and 12% reported that using a nebulizer was not different from using an inhaler.
When asked about their views of nebulization therapy, more than 80% of the caregivers agreed that nebulization made it easier to help care for a friend or family member, that the benefits outweigh any difficulties or inconvenience, and that the overall quality of life of their friend or family member had improved since beginning nebulization.
The most positive aspect of nebulization, cited by 65% of the caregivers, was its ability to allow the patient to breathe easier and/or to open up the airways.
Patients Describe Similar Benefits
A similar survey of 400 patients with COPD who received nebulized therapy yielded nearly identical results: 80% of them rated nebulized therapy as better than using only an inhaler, and 12% said that they found it no different from an inhaler. The overall patient satisfaction rate with nebulized therapy was 89%.
More than 80% of the patients agreed that the benefits of nebulization outweighed any difficulties or inconvenience, that nebulization made it easier for their caregivers to help care for them, and that the overall quality of their lives had improved since starting using a nebulizer. Furthermore, 60% of the patients said that they wished they could have started nebulized therapy sooner.
“Overall, these data do not support the current negative perception that nebulization may be too cumbersome for the patient and/or the caregiver,” Dr Sharafkhaneh concluded. “Clinicians should consider patient-reported benefits and preferences when choosing a system to deliver inhaled medications for COPD.”