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Inhaled long-acting anticholinergics and urinary tract infection in individuals with COPD


Inhaled, long-acting anticholinergic medication (LAA), commonly used for moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), has been shown to decrease COPD hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and acute exacerbations but has also been associated with urinary tract infection (UTI) in a prior meta-analysis. The objective of this study was to verify if there was an association between LAA and UTI in older individuals with COPD. A population-based, real-world cohort study using health administrative data from Ontario, Canada was conducted. Incidence of UTI was compared between older people with physician-diagnosed COPD, who were new users of inhaled long-acting anticholinergics and new users of inhaled corticosteroids–a reference medication used in similar clinical settings that has no known association with UTI. Propensity score matching was used to minimize the effects of confounding. An overall association between LAA and various measures of UTI in older individuals was not found. However, in a priori defined stratified analyses, men newly initiated on LAA were 75% more likely to develop a UTI than men newly started on an inhaled corticosteroid (hazard ratio 1.75; 95% confidence interval 1.05–2.92). No significant association was seen in women. In conclusion, older men with COPD newly started on LAA are at increased risk of UTI. Men considering an inhaled LAA should be informed of this risk and, if they decide to take it, be provided with appropriate monitoring.



Gershon AS, Newman AM, Fischer HD, Austin PC, Daneman N, Bell CM, Stephenson AL, Gill SS, Vozoris NT, Rochon PA. COPD. 2017; 14(1):105-12. Epub 2016 Oct 12.