(HealthDay News) – New use of either long-acting β-agonists or anticholinergics is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular events among older individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published online May 20 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Andrea Gershon, MD, from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Canada, and colleagues conducted a nested case-control analysis involving 191,1005 eligible patients aged ≥66 years being treated for COPD. The risk of cardiovascular events was compared for patients newly prescribed inhaled long-acting β-agonists and anticholinergics and matched patients not using these medications.

The researchers found that 28% of patients had a hospitalization or emergency department visit for a cardiovascular event. The risk of an event was significantly higher among those newly prescribed long-acting inhaled β-agonists and anticholinergics than among those not using those medications (respective adjusted odds ratios, 1.31 and 1.14). There was no significant difference in events when comparing β-agonists and anticholinergics (adjusted odds ratio, 1.15; P=0.16).

“Among older individuals with COPD, new use of long-acting β-agonists and anticholinergics is associated with similar increased risks of cardiovascular events,” the authors write. “Close monitoring of COPD patients requiring long-acting bronchodilators is needed regardless of drug class.”

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