Symposium introduces advancements in COPD treatment, control

May 03, 2024 - 15:09
Advancements in Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD) treatment and control were the main topic of discussion at the scientific conference that took place in HCM City and Hà Nội respectively.
Associate Professor Dr. Nguyễn Viết Nhung, President of the Vietnam Lung Association speaks at the event. — Photo courtesy of the organiser

HCM CITY — Advancements in Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD) treatment and control were the main topic of discussion at a scientific conference that recently took place in HCM City and Hà Nội.

The event, entitled “Keys to achieving goals in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment in Việt Nam” was jointly organised by the Vietnam Lung Association in collaboration with AstraZeneca Vietnam Co. Ltd.

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

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

In Việt Nam, the burden of COPD is a significant concern within the respiratory healthcare sector. The prevalence of COPD among individuals aged ≥ 403 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 situation is also a concern for leading respiratory experts. Associate Professor Dr. Nguyễn Viết 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 individualized with the overall goal of reducing symptoms, lessening the risk of exacerbations and lowering mortality. Therefore, having 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.”

During the conference, experts discussed the burdens and unresolved problems with current therapies, especially reducing mortality in 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.

Health experts attend the event. — Photo courtesy of the organiser

At the event, Associate Professor Dr. Richard Russell, Clinical Director, West Hampshire Integrated Respiratory Service, Respiratory Specialist at the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, University of Oxford, said: “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 the LABA/LAMA duo therapy.”

Experts said 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 utilized in COPD treatment in Việt Nam, 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.

General Director of AstraZeneca Vietnam Atul Tandon said: "COPD's impact extends far beyond breathing difficulties. As studies have shown, the disease's link to increased risk of heart attacks and mortality underscores the urgent need to prioritize COPD alongside other chronic illnesses like heart disease and lung cancer."

Operating in Việt Nam since 1994, over the past 30 years, AstraZeneca has partnered with the Ministry of Health, medical associations, and industry partners to facilitate scientific exchanges and implement many impactful programs aiming at enhancing awareness, prevention, and early detection of diseases. A typical example is the “Healthy Lung program”, 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. — VNS