Respirology. 2021 Apr 7. doi: 10.1111/resp.14046. Online ahead of print.
Pharmacological treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) aims to alleviate symptoms and reduce the future risk of events such as exacerbations, disease progression and death. The heterogeneity of COPD results in variable responses to pharmacological interventions. COPD treatment has evolved towards a precision medicine approach, integrating clinical and biomarker information in order to optimize treatment decisions for each individual. The evidence supporting the use of blood eosinophil counts to predict responses to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in COPD patients has led to the adoption of this biomarker for use in clinical practice. The development of novel double and triple inhaled combination treatments containing long-acting bronchodilators with or without ICS has involved some landmark randomized controlled trials in COPD patients. These studies have provided valuable evidence to direct the use of different classes of combination treatments. However, there are still some unresolved questions and debates. This review article describes the advances in the pharmacological treatment of COPD, particularly the personalization of treatment. The evidence base for current recommendations is discussed, and controversial issues are dissected.