Dose of Corticosteroids in COPD

Clinical Trial ID: NCT01742338


COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a long-lasting lung disease usually caused by long-term smoking. COPD can get worse, making people sick enough to need hospitalization. Corticosteroids are very effective and are almost always used, but nobody knows the right dose. High doses may work better but could cause more side effects than low doses. Typical treatment lengths last at least one week. This study will be comparing two common regimens: either 40mg of corticosteroids daily (low dose), or 80mg of corticosteroids daily (high dose). It is unknown which regimen works better..

The goal of the study is to determine whether a high-dose corticosteroid regimen in patients admitted to the hospital with COPD exacerbations is associated with better clinical outcomes and at acceptable risk of adverse effects compared to a low-dose corticosteroid regimen. Our hypothesis is that high-dose corticosteroids is associated with a decreased rate of treatment failure, shorter length of hospital stay, and improved quality of life with similar risk of adverse effects. The study population includes patients ≥ 40 years-old with a ≥ 10 pack-years smoking history and a diagnosis of COPD, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis who present to the emergency room with increased dyspnea, increased sputum, or increased cough that requires admission to the hospital. We will perform a prospective, randomized, double-blinded study to determine if a high-dose corticosteroid regimen, which is already in use in clinical practice, decreases treatment failure compared to a low-dose corticosteroid regimen that is based on national consensus guidelines.


Inclusion Criteria: i. Patients with a diagnosis of COPD, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis ii. Age ≥ 40 years-old iii. Smoking history ≥ 10 pack-years iv. Presentation to the emergency room with increased dyspnea, increased sputum, or increased cough v. Admission to the hospital Exclusion Criteria: i. Alternative diagnosis for cause of dyspnea, increased sputum or cough ii. Patients who requires intubation at time of recruitment iii. Patients who are unable to give consent iv. Patients who are pregnant or could be pregnant or are currently breast-feeding v. Women of child-bearing age who cannot use methods of contraception as described in the consent, including condoms, female condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms, and intra uterine devices. vi. Patients who were previously entered into the trial and are re-admitted to the hospital with a new COPD exacerbation.

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    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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