Inhaled anticholinergic use and all-cause mortality among elderly Medicare beneficiaries with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Mayank Ajmera, Chan Shen, Xiaoyun Pan, Patricia A. Findley, George Rust, Usha Sambamoorthi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the association between use of inhaled anticholinergics and all-cause mortality among elderly individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), after controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, health, functional status, smoking, and obesity. Methods: We used a retrospective longitudinal panel data design. Data were extracted for multiple years (2002-2009) of the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) linked with fee-for-service Medicare claims. Generic and brand names of inhaled anticholinergics were used to identify inhaled anticholinergic utilization from the self-reported prescription medication files. All-cause mortality was assessed using the vital status variable. Unadjusted group differences in mortality rates were tested using the chi-square statistic. Multivariable logistic regressions with independent variables entered in separate blocks were used to analyze the association between inhaled anticholinergic use and all-cause mortality. All analyses accounted for the complex design of the MCBS. Results: Overall, 19.4% of the elderly Medicare beneficiaries used inhaled anticholinergics. Inhaled anticholinergic use was significantly higher (28.5%) among those who reported poor health compared with those reporting excellent or very good health (12.7%). Bivariate analyses indicated that inhaled anticholinergic use was associated with significantly higher rates of all-cause mortality (18.7%) compared with nonusers (13.6%). However, multivariate analyses controlling for risk factors did not suggest an increased likelihood of all-cause mortality (adjusted odds ratio 1.26, 95% confidence interval 0.95-1.67). Conclusion: Use of inhaled anticholinergics among elderly individuals with COPD is potentially safe in terms of all-cause mortality when we adjust for baseline risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-294
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of COPD
StatePublished - Jun 7 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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