The combination of two long acting bronchodilators with an inhaled corticosteroid, known as Triple Therapy (TT), is a usual clinical practice for patients affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This analysis aimed to identify subjects with COPD treated with extemporaneous combination of ICS/LABA and LAMA (namely open TT) and to describe the pharmacological strategy, the spirometry use, the exacerbations occurrence and the costs, in the perspective of the Italian National Health System (NHS).
Through record linkage of administrative data (ReS database) of about 12 million inhabitants in 2014, a cohort of patients aged ≥45, without asthma and treated with open TT (index date) was selected. Specific drugs, oxygen supply and exacerbations were described in one year before the index date, while spirometry tests over two years before the index date. All these resources utilization, the persistence to the open TT, and integrated costs of the above healthcare services were analysed for 1-year follow-up.
In 2014, 10,352 patients (mean age 74 ± 9; males 66.0%) with COPD and treated with open TT were identified (prevalence 160.6 per 100,000 inhabitants aged ≥45). During the previous year, the 44.0% of this cohort was already treated with open TT, 7.0% did not received any drugs for obstructive airway diseases, 11.1% needed home oxygen therapy, and 28.7% experienced at least an exacerbation. In the follow-up year, the 37.5% of the cohort was found persistent to the open TT, 17.0% needed oxygen therapy, and the 30.9% underwent an exacerbation. Spirometry was performed on 45.7% of patients in the two previous years, while on 33.3% in the subsequent year. In the follow-up, on average, every patient of the cohort costed to the NHS €5,295: 48.2% for hospitalizations, 41.2% for drugs and 10.6% for outpatient services.
This large observational study based on claims data reliably identified subjects with COPD treated with open TT and their burden on the NHS. Moreover, it could describe the real clinical management of the open TT, before the marketing of the fixed one. These findings are useful for health policymakers in order to promote the appropriate utilization of both currently marketed and future therapies.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.