Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease had an increased risk of pneumonia if they were long-time users of popular corticosteriod inhalers.
Those findings were published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine by researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
The reseachers examined 18 clinical trials involving more than 17,000 patients to explore links between pneumonia and the inhalers, including Advair and Symbicort.
According to their analysis, patients who used the inhalers for at least 24 weeks had a 60 percent to 70 percent increased risk of developing pneumonia.
The inhalers are not approved by the government as a sole therapy for COPD, a respiratory ailment that causes wheezing and shortness of breath. But they can be prescribed with other drugs that dilate the lungs.
"Given the substantial emerging risk of pneumonia and its associated morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic obstructive lung disease, and the uncertain benefit of adding an inhaled corticosteroid to a long-acting bronchodilator, clinicians should re-evaluate the benefit-harm profile of long-term inhaled corticosteroid use among patients with COPD,” Dr. Sonal Singh, an assistant professor of internal medicine and lead investigator for the study, said in a prepared statement.