Advancements in chronic obstructive lung disease treatment and control

April 15, 2024 | 09:00
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Conferences themed “Key to achieving triple goals in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment in Vietnam” took place in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi on April 7 and 14.

Organised by the Vietnam Lung Association, in collaboration with AstraZeneca Vietnam Co. Ltd., the events attracted leading respiratory experts.

The conferences, part of a series of scientific gatherings held in March and April, aimed to introduce nearly 2,000 healthcare professionals nationwide to new and advanced solutions to address gaps in COPD treatment. The objective was to enhance treatment effectiveness and alleviate the burden on patients.

Globally, there are an estimated 392 million cases of COPD, with three-quarters of sufferers residing in low and middle-income countries. COPD ranks as the third leading cause of mortality worldwide, resulting in approximately 3 million deaths annually.

In Vietnam, the burden of COPD is a significant concern within the respiratory healthcare sector. The prevalence of COPD among individuals aged 40 and above is 4.2 per cent, with 46 per cent of patients experiencing exacerbations in the previous year. Furthermore, COPD stands as the fourth leading cause of mortality in the country.

The above situation is also a concern for leading respiratory experts. Associate Professor Nguyen Viet Nhung, president of the Vietnam Lung Association, said, “Exacerbations are always a concern not only for patients but also for doctors. The treatment strategy for COPD is individualised with the overall goal of reducing symptoms, lessening the risk of exacerbations, and lowering mortality. Therefore, new treatment solutions and promoting access for COPD patients in outpatient management departments will help the local health system better manage patients, thereby reducing hospital admissions for exacerbations and alleviating the burden on the higher-level medical system.”

Advancements in chronic obstructive lung disease treatment and control
Associate Professor Nguyen Viet Nhung, president of the Vietnam Lung Association

During the conferences, experts focused on discussing the burdens and unresolved problems with current therapies, especially reducing mortality among COPD patients. According to GOLD 2023 (The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease), the closed triple therapy ICS/LABA/LAMA in one inhaler is recommended and proven to reduce all-cause mortality compared to the LABA/LAMA duo therapy.

Associate Professor Dr. Richard Russell, clinical director of West Hampshire Integrated Respiratory Service, Respiratory Specialist at the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, University of Oxford, provided further evidence of the therapy's effectiveness and safety profile of the closed triple therapy of Budesonide/Glycopyrronium/Formoterol from multicentre, multinational, double-blind, randomised, controlled, parallel-group studies.

The advanced aerosphere technology helps distribute active ingredients more effectively and stably throughout the entire lung, thereby reducing symptoms, improving quality of life, and significantly reducing moderate to severe exacerbations compared to the ICS/LABA and LABA/LAMA duo therapies. Additionally, the all-cause mortality risks are 49 per cent lower than LABA/LAMA duo therapy.

In agreement, Associate Professor Tran Van Ngoc, president of the Ho Chi Minh City Respiratory Society, and Associate Professor Dr. Le Thi Tuyet Lan, president of the Society of Asthma, Allergy & Clinical Immunology, vice president of Vietnam Respiratory Association, both commented that closed triple therapy represents a significant advancement, enhancing patients’ compliance and treatment success rates.

This new therapy, containing three very familiar components that have been utilised in COPD treatment in Vietnam, will provide healthcare professionals with additional treatment options. These medications are crucial, as emphasised by GOLD 2023, which highlights the goal of reducing mortality alongside symptom alleviation, exacerbation reduction, and disease progression prevention in COPD treatment and management.

Advancements in chronic obstructive lung disease treatment and control
Delegates at the conference

Atul Tandon, general director of AstraZeneca Vietnam, shared, "COPD's impact extends far beyond breathing difficulties. As studies have shown, the disease's link to increased risks of heart attacks and mortality underscores the urgent need to prioritise COPD alongside other chronic illnesses like heart disease and lung cancer. Today, AstraZeneca is proud to showcase our research and development efforts that are delivering potentially life-changing solutions for patients. This advancement reflects our unwavering commitment to significantly contribute to improved asthma and COPD management in Vietnam, ultimately fostering a more sustainable healthcare system for the Vietnamese people."

Over the past 30 years, AstraZeneca has partnered with the Ministry of Health, medical associations, and industry partners to facilitate scientific exchanges and implement impactful programmes aimed at enhancing awareness, prevention, and early detection of diseases. A typical example is the “Healthy Lung Programme”, designed to elevate the quality of outpatient management for asthma, COPD, and lung cancer. To date, the programme has facilitated the establishment and operation of more than 155 UMACs (Unit of Management for Asthma and COPD) in 51 provinces and cities, enhancing the capacity of healthcare workers in asthma and COPD management.

Chronic obstructive lung disease is a progressive lung condition that worsens over time and poses a threat to patients’ lives. The disease causes breathing difficulties, leading to a worsening condition and serious complications. While COPD cannot be cured, proper treatment can alleviate symptoms, improve life quality, and reduce mortality risks.

According to healthcare experts, the primary cause of COPD is exposure to tobacco smoke (whether through active smoking or passive smoking), accounting for 3 out of 4 cases of the disease. Other risk factors include exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution, as well as dust and fumes generated during manufacturing processes. Many cases of COPD can be prevented by abstaining from smoking or quitting smoking early.

By Vy Bui

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