A recent review of existing data has confirmed that some common inhalers do not boost the life spans of people who suffer from the disabling lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In fact, the use of the medications associated with these devices could raise the risk of pneumonia. But review lead author Dr. M. Bradley Drummond says that patients suffering from the disabling condition should not cease the use of their inhalers before first consulting their doctor, as the devices can still provide benefits in some cases.

Symptoms can be eased through treatment, but COPD does not have a cure. More than 90 percent of cases of the disabling condition are related to smoking. In many cases, patients’ lives could be extended by stopping smoking and breathing oxygen. Some COPD sufferers turn to the use of inhaled corticosteroids, which calm the immune system in order to reduce inflammation. The researchers involved in the study discovered no significant difference in one-year death rate through research that involved more than 4,600 patients who used the inhalers in comparison to a similar number of patients who did not. Drummond said that it is unclear why inhalers may boost the risk of pneumonia, but they may suppress the immune system in the lungs.

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