objective: To examine the use of ipratropium bromide in adults with acute exacerbation of either asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during admission and at discharge from 3 teaching hospitals.
methods: An extensive range of clinical and demographic data was retrospectively extracted from the medical records of consecutive patients aged ¡Ý12 years admitted to the medical wards of the hospitals during 1999¨C2001 with acute exacerbations of asthma or COPD, either as a primary diagnosis or as a major comorbidity.
results: Data were gathered for 302 patients (97 with asthma, 205 with COPD). Almost 90% of all patients received ipratropium bromide during their hospital admission. The indication for using ipratropium bromide during hospitalization was considered appropriate in 84% of the asthma patients and 68% of the COPD patients. Over 20% of the patients with asthma had been using ipratropium bromide prior to the hospital admission, and almost one-third of the patients with asthma were discharged with ipratropium bromide, even though its role in chronic asthma is limited. More than 90% of the patients received nebulized drug therapy during their hospital stay, with 41% being prescribed nebulized therapy at discharge. This was often considered inappropriate, given that >50% of all patients had been using inhaler devices and nebulizers concurrently while hospitalized.
conclusions: In the majority of cases, ipratropium bromide had been used during hospitalization in accordance with guidelines for the management of acute exacerbations of asthma or COPD. However, there was also evidence of potentially inappropriate prolonged use of the agent in the community setting, particularly for asthma. Also of concern was the relatively high use of nebulized drug therapy when delivery via other means was appropriate.