Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are periods of worsening COPD symptoms, during which patients experience increased dyspnoea, cough and /or sputum production.
Observational studies have shown patients often delay seeking medical advice for up to one week after symptom onset, and delays are associated with worse clinical outcomes and an increased risk of hospitalisation.
Exacerbations become more frequent as COPD progresses, and in patients with severe COPD often result in hospital admission for management of respiratory failure.
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A joint initiative of the Patient Services Section and the Drug and Therapeutics Information Service of the Pharmacy Department, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia. The RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin is distributed in electronic format on a weekly basis, and aims to present concise, factual information on issues of current interest in therapeutics, drug safety and cost-effective use of medications.
Editor: Assoc. Prof. Chris Alderman, University of South Australia – Director of Pharmacy, RGH © Pharmacy Department, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia 5041.