Background: The differential risk of pneumonia among inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) use in patients with COPD requires more investigation, especially regarding beclomethasone-containing inhalers. The goal of this study was to compare the risk and benefit profile of different ICS/long-acting β2-agonist (LABA) combinations in patients with COPD. Methods: This retrospective cohort study was conducted by using national health insurance claims data from the years 2009 to 2015 in Taiwan and included patients with COPD with new ICS/LABA use. Propensity score matching and Cox regression models were used to estimate the hazard ratios of severe pneumonia and acute exacerbation for different ICS/LABA users. Results: Both budesonide/formoterol (BUD/FOR) dry-powder inhalers and beclomethasone/formoterol (BEC/FOR) metered-dose inhalers, compared with fluticasone propionate/salmeterol (FLU/SAL) delivered via the same device type, were associated with a lower risk of severe pneumonia (BUD/FOR hazard ratio [HR], 0.83 [95% CI, 0.70-0.98]; BEC/FOR HR, 0.69 [95% CI, 0.58-0.81]) and severe acute exacerbation (BUD/FOR HR, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.78-0.99]; BEC/FOR HR, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.72-0.93]). After additionally adjusting for the average daily ICS dose, BUD/FOR dry-powder inhaler users continued to have a significantly decreased risk of severe pneumonia (18%), although BEC/FOR metered-dose inhaler users did not. The results were consistent in most of the prespecified subgroups and across all the sensitivity analyses. Conclusions: This study augments the existing evidence concerning the different safety and effectiveness outcomes of ICS/LABA combinations in patients with COPD, which may be considered when making clinical treatment decisions.
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