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Risk of Death Higher in COPD Patients Using Spiriva Mist Inhalers

Spike Mafford/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- A recent review of published studies found that mist inhalers containing Spiriva are linked to a 52-percent higher risk of death for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), reports HealthDay News.

Although the drug in the soluble mist form is approved for 55 other countries, it is not yet available in the United States.  COPD patients in the U.S. can, however, find the powdered form to be commonly used.

In the study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine looked at five published studies covering more than 6,500 patients.  Comparing the Spiriva mist inhaler with a placebo, they found that those using the Spiriva inhaler were 52 percent more likely to die than those using the placebo inhaler.  Dr. Sonal Singh, the lead author on the study, attributed the increased risk to cardiovascular disease.

"What we think is going on is that the mist inhaler is delivering a higher concentration of tiotropium than it should and that may be increasing the risk of death," Singh commented in a news release.

Despite the Spiriva mist's inaccessibility in the U.S., American regulators should be considerate of the study's findings, says Dr. Mark Rosen, director of pulmonary rehabilitation at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital in Long Island, N.Y.

The study's findings are featured online in the British Medical Journal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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