New guideline for COPD provides updates on medication management

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) released a clinical practice guideline on the pharmacologic management of COPD. This guidance, in conjunction with the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines, is useful in helping pharmacists manage patients with COPD.

“Both the ATS and GOLD guidelines are evidence based, but the ATS guidelines are much more concise,” said Suzanne G. Bollmeier, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, AE-C, professor of pharmacy practice at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “The ATS guidance addresses six specific questions related to the management of COPD patients in certain clinical situations, and practicing pharmacists may find the ATS document useful if already familiar with the GOLD guidelines.”

These guidelines, which are the standard when managing patients with COPD, include staging patients based on both their pulmonary function and symptoms (CAT or MMRC scores) and history of exacerbations (A, B, C, D risk stratification). The GOLD guidelines give evidence-based recommendations for both initial and follow-up therapy (dyspnea or exacerbation pathways).

In comparison, the ATS guidance discusses six scenarios that focus on recommendations for the appropriate use of long-acting beta-agonists (LABA), long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMA), inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), oral steroids, and opioid-based regimens.

For the full article, please visit for the July 2020 issue of Pharmacy Today.