A 74-year-old man with a history of inhaler use presents for evaluation of his medications. A diagnosis of COPD is confirmed. Current Australian guidelines are available to guide assessment and treatment of patients with respiratory conditions.
- In patients with stable COPD, the severity of airflow limitation should be measured by spirometry.
- The next step in assessing a patient with COPD is to ascertain how greatly the symptoms impact on their activity and quality of life.
- A stepwise introduction of a drug from one of the two classes of long-acting bronchodilators – long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) or long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs) – is encouraged.
- A combination long-acting bronchodilator (LAMA plus LABA) would be the next step in treatment for patients with severe symptoms who fail to respond satisfactorily to a single bronchodilator, or who have a history of exacerbations.