Spiriva in Mist Inhaler May Raise Death Risk In COPD Patientssers

A popular lung disease inhaler may increase the risk for early death in some patients. Based on a review of five studies, said Bloomberg News, <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">Spiriva mist, manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH and Pfizer Inc., was linked with a 52 percent increase in premature death when compared with patients taking a placebo.

Spiriva in the Respimant mist inhaler is used in the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). The review, which included five clinical trials that involved over 6,500 patients, was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). “The findings add weight to recent safety concerns by regulatory agencies regarding the risk of an increased mortality risk associated with this device,” the BMJ said in a statement, quoted Bloomberg News. The researchers, from the United States and the United Kingdom, say that doctors should advise patients of the increased risk.

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said a two-year study did not reveal an increases heart attack and stroke risk linked to Spiriva in the Handihaler; however, earlier studies suggested a link does exist, said Bloomberg News.

Spiriva is produced as either a mist or powder, explained Bloomberg News, which said that, delivered with the Respimat inhaler, patients receive the mist form; as a powder, Spiriva is delivered with a Handihaler device. The mist version is available in 55 countries including the U.K., but is not available in the U.S., said the study.

Christopher Cates, a senior clinical research fellow at St. George’s University of London, said, in an accompanying editorial, that the mist inhaler’s higher death risk could be due to increased plasma concentrations of Spiriva that occur due to the device’s improved delivery, reported Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, we recently wrote that another study found that men taking drugs like Atrovent, Combivent, and Spiriva to treat COPD are likelier to suffer from acute urinary retention. That study was published last month in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Urinary retention, a condition in which the bladder feels full but a victim is unable to relieve him/herself, can cause kidney damage if left untreated.

Atrovent, Combivent, and Spiriva are all part of a class of drugs called inhaled anticholinergics that ease breathing by preventing the airways from constricting. Spiriva is the most widely prescribed drug for COPD, and was approved by the FDA in 2002. Inhaled anticholinergics have long been tied to other side effects, including an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in COPD patients. For instance, a previous study on which we wrote—conducted Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center researchers—found Spiriva and Atrovent were linked increased risks of heart attack and stroke. The study also found that using one of these drugs for just a month increased a patient’s risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, or stroke by a whopping 58 percent.

COPD affects as many as 24 million Americans and kills more than 120,000 annually. A progressive lung disease, often caused by smoking, and for which there’s no known cure, COPD’s symptoms include restricted breathing, secretion of mucus, oxidative stress, and airway inflammation. Bloomberg News noted that COPD is also known as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or smoker’s cough. The disease creates blockages in the lungs, which results in shortness of breath and disability

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