Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) may be less likely to receive a prescription for a bronchodilator, according to a new study published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

Given the potential cardiovascular side effects associated with bronchodilators, clinicians may be hesitant to prescribe the therapy to COPD patients with CVD. In order to determine whether CVD was associated with reduced prescribing, researchers conducted a cross-sectional study using the 2010 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. COPD patients over the age of 40 were included in the analysis which examined 11,627,061 ambulatory COPD visits.

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A significantly lower bronchodilator treatment rate was associated with COPD patients with comorbid CVD compared to those without CVD (32.3% vs. 57.6%, respectively); deprescribing occurred more often in women, nonusers of beta-blockers, and asthma patients. However, in male patients taking beta-blockers, CVD did not influence bronchodilator prescribing.

The authors conclude that “this study highlights a specific patient subgroup for whom the guidelines are less likely to be observed.”

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