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Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: strategies for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ) is frequently accompanied by multimorbidities in affected patients. Even though the majority of these comorbidities are also related to advanced age and cigarette smoke, also COPD itself has significant impact on insurgence, or worsening of these conditions.
As a consequence, COPD is regarded as a complex disease with pulmonary and extra-pulmonary involvement.

According to current guidelines for the management of COPD patients, the comprehensive treatment of this condition should target respiratory symptoms as well as comorbidities.

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most frequent comorbidities in COPD patients and there are several strategies for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in COPD patients.
These include smoking cessation, pharmacologic prevention of cardiovascular disease, and the treatment of COPD.

Beta-blockers for the prevention of cardiovascular disease have been traditionally limited in COPD patients, albeit current evidence supporting their efficacy and safety in these patients.

With regard to COPD medications, corticosteroids are generally not recommended, except for exacerbations, while long-acting beta2-agonists have demonstrated an acceptable profile of cardiovascular safety.

Long-acting anticholinergic bronchodilators, in particular Tiotropium in the mist inhaler formulation, have been associated with an increased risk of major cardiovascular events and mortality.
Data on this issue remain, however, controversial.

Glycopyrronium, a recently introduced anticholinergic, demonstrated. a rapid and sustained relief of respiratory symptoms with a favorable safety profile and no increase in cardiovascular risk, in monotherapy and in combination with a long-acting beta2-agonist in a comprehensive trial program indicating a valid option for COPD patients with cardiovascular comorbidities. ( Xagena )

Ferri C, High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev 2015; Epub ahead of print

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