Brazilian Journal of Pulmonology

ISSN (on-line): 1806-3756 | ISSN (printed): 1806-3713


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Exploratory analysis of requests for authorization to dispense high-cost medication to COPD patients: the São Paulo

Análise exploratória de solicitações de autorização para dispensação de medicação de alto custo para portadores de DPOC:

Regina Maria Carvalho-Pinto11,a, Ingredy Tavares da Silva1,2,b, Lucas Yoshio Kido Navacchia1,c, Flavia Munhos Granja1,2,d, Gustavo Garcia Marques1,2,e, Telma de Cassia dos Santos Nery1,f, Frederico Leon Arrabal Fernandes1,g, Alberto Cukier1,h, Rafael Stelmach1,i

J Bras Pneumol.2019;45(6):e20180355-e20180355

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: A resolution passed by the government of the Brazilian state of São Paulo established a protocol for requesting free COPD medications, including tiotropium bromide, creating regional authorization centers to evaluate and approve such requests, given the high cost of those medications. Our objective was to analyze the requests received by an authorization center that serves cities in the greater metropolitan area of (the city of) São Paulo between 2011 and 2016. Methods: Data regarding the authorization, return, or rejection of the requests were compiled and analyzed in order to explain those outcomes. Subsequently, the clinical and functional data related to the patients were evaluated. Results: A total of 7,762 requests for dispensing COPD medication were analyzed. Requests related to male patients predominated. Among the corresponding patients, the mean age was 66 years, 12% were smokers, 88% had frequent exacerbations, and 84% had severe/very severe dyspnea. The mean FEV1 was 37.2% of the predicted value. The total number of requests decreased by 24.5% from 2012 to 2013 and was lowest in 2015. Most (65%) of the requests were accepted. The main reasons for the rejection/return of a request were a post-bronchodilator FEV1/FVC ratio > 0.7, a post-bronchodilator FEV1 > 50% of the predicted value, and failure to provide information regarding previous use of a long-acting β2 agonist. During the study period, the total number of requests returned/rejected decreased slightly, and there was improvement in the quality of the data included on the forms. Conclusions: Here, we have identified the characteristics of the requests for COPD medications and of the corresponding patients per region served by the authorization center analyzed, thus contributing to the improvement of local public health care measures.


Keywords: Pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive; Clinical protocols; Drug costs; Tiotropium bromide.


Barriers associated with reduced physical activity in COPD patients

Barreiras associadas à menor atividade física em portadores de DPOC

Priscila Batista Amorim, Rafael Stelmach, Celso Ricardo Fernandes Carvalho, Frederico Leon Arrabal Fernandes, Regina Maria Carvalho-Pinto, Alberto Cukier

J Bras Pneumol.2014;40(5):504-512

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To evaluate the ability of COPD patients to perform activities of daily living (ADL); to identify barriers that prevent these individuals from performing ADL; and to correlate those barriers with dyspnea severity, six-minute walk test (6MWT), and an ADL limitation score. Methods: In COPD patients and healthy, age-matched controls, the number of steps, the distance walked, and walking time were recorded with a triaxial accelerometer, for seven consecutive days. A questionnaire regarding perceived barriers and the London Chest Activity of Daily Living (LCADL) scale were used in order to identify the factors that prevent the performance of ADL. The severity of dyspnea was assessed with two scales, whereas submaximal exercise capacity was determined on the basis of the 6MWT. Results: We evaluated 40 COPD patients and 40 controls. In comparison with the control values, the mean walk time was significantly shorter for COPD patients (68.5  25.8 min/day vs. 105.2  49.4 min/day; p < 0.001), as was the distance walked (3.9  1.9 km/day vs. 6.4  3.2 km/day; p < 0.001). The COPD patients also walked fewer steps/day. The most common self-reported barriers to performing ADL were lack of infrastructure, social influences, and lack of willpower. The 6MWT distance correlated with the results obtained with the accelerometer but not with the LCADL scale results. Conclusions: Patients with COPD are less active than are healthy adults of a comparable age. Physical inactivity and the barriers to performing ADL have immediate implications for clinical practice, calling for early intervention measures.


Keywords: Pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive; Activities of daily living; Exercise tolerance.


Comparison between objective measures of smoking and self-reported smoking status in patients with asthma or COPD: are our patients telling us the truth?

Comparação entre medidas objetivas do tabagismo e tabagismo autodeclarado em pacientes com asma ou DPOC: será que nossos pacientes dizem a verdade?

Rafael Stelmach, Frederico Leon Arrabal Fernandes, Regina Maria Carvalho-Pinto, Rodrigo Abensur Athanazio, Samia Zahi Rached, Gustavo Faibischew Prado, Alberto Cukier

J Bras Pneumol.2015;41(2):124-132

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Objective: Smoking prevalence is frequently estimated on the basis of self-reported smoking status. That can lead to an underestimation of smoking rates. The aim of this study was to evaluate the difference between self-reported smoking status and that determined through the use of objective measures of smoking at a pulmonary outpatient clinic. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving 144 individuals: 51 asthma patients, 53 COPD patients, 20 current smokers, and 20 never-smokers. Smoking status was determined on the basis of self-reports obtained in interviews, as well as through tests of exhaled carbon monoxide (eCO) and urinary cotinine. Results: All of the asthma patients and COPD patients declared they were not current smokers. In the COPD and asthma patients, the median urinary cotinine concentration was 167 ng/mL (range, 2-5,348 ng/mL) and 47 ng/mL (range, 5-2,735 ng/mL), respectively (p < 0.0001), whereas the median eCO level was 8 ppm (range, 0-31 ppm) and 5 ppm (range, 2-45 ppm), respectively (p < 0.05). In 40 (38%) of the patients with asthma or COPD (n = 104), there was disagreement between the self-reported smoking status and that determined on the basis of the urinary cotinine concentration, a concentration > 200 ng/mL being considered indicative of current smoking. In 48 (46%) of those 104 patients, the self-reported non-smoking status was refuted by an eCO level > 6 ppm, which is also considered indicative of current smoking. In 30 (29%) of the patients with asthma or COPD, the urinary cotinine concentration and the eCO level both belied the patient claims of not being current smokers. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that high proportions of smoking pulmonary patients with lung disease falsely declare themselves to be nonsmokers. The accurate classification of smoking status is pivotal to the treatment of lung diseases. Objective measures of smoking could be helpful in improving clinical management and counseling.


Keywords: Asthma; Pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive; Cotinine; Carbon monoxide; Smoking.


Spirometry in patients screened for coronary artery disease: is it useful?

Espirometria em pacientes submetidos a investigação para detecção de doença arterial coronariana: é útil?

Frederico Leon Arrabal Fernandes1,a, Regina Maria Carvalho-Pinto1,b, Rafael Stelmach1,c, João Marcos Salge1,d, Carlos Eduardo Rochitte2,e, Eliane Cardoso dos Santos Souza1,f, Janaina Danielle Pessi1,g, Alberto Cukier1,h

J Bras Pneumol.2018;44(4):299-306

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To determine the prevalence of spirometric abnormalities in patients screened for coronary artery disease (CAD) and the risk factors for lung function impairment. Methods: Patients referred for cardiac CT underwent spirometry and were subsequently divided into two groups, namely normal lung function and abnormal lung function. The prevalence of spirometric abnormalities was calculated for the following subgroups of patients: smokers, patients with metabolic syndrome, elderly patients, and patients with obstructive coronary lesions. All groups and subgroups were compared in terms of the coronary artery calcium score and the Duke CAD severity index. Results: A total of 205 patients completed the study. Of those, 147 (72%) had normal lung function and 58 (28%) had abnormal lung function. The median coronary artery calcium score was 1 for the patients with normal lung function and 36 for those with abnormal lung function (p = 0.01). The mean Duke CAD severity index was 15 for the former and 27 for the latter (p < 0.01). Being a smoker was associated with the highest OR for abnormal lung function, followed by being over 65 years of age and having obstructive coronary lesions. Conclusions: The prevalence of spirometric abnormalities appears to be high in patients undergoing cardiac CT for CAD screening. Smokers, elderly individuals, and patients with CAD are at an increased risk of lung function abnormalities and therefore should undergo spirometry. ( identifier: NCT01734629 [])


Keywords: Pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive; Spirometry; Coronary disease; Tomography, X-ray computed.




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