Comparative Effectiveness of Two Tiotropium Formulations: A Retrospective Cohort Study

The effectiveness of the tiotropium Respimat® formulation in routine clinical practice is still an open issue due to concern about the generalizability of the Tiotropium Safety and Performance in Respimat® (TIOSPIR) trial findings. Our aim was to compare the incidence of acute respiratory events between new users of tiotropium Respimat® and HandiHaler®. The study population comprised patients aged ≥45 years resident in two Italian regions who received a first tiotropium prescription (HandiHaler® or Respimat®) between 1 July 2011 and 30 November 2013. The cohort was identified within the database of drug prescriptions reimbursed by the Italian National Health Service. Clinical outcomes were obtained from hospital records. The primary outcome was the first hospitalization for respiratory events, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation, respiratory failure, hypoxemia/hyperventilation and pneumonia, during the exposure period. The hazard ratios were estimated for the propensity score matched groups with Cox regression. After matching, 31,334 patients with incident tiotropium prescriptions were included. Similar incidence rates of the primary outcome between the Respimat® and HandiHaler® users were identified (adjusted hazard ratio 0.95, 95% CI 0.84–1.07). No differences emerged in the subgroup analyses conducted according to the baseline characteristics of the tiotropium users. This study confirms the findings observed in the TIOSPIR trial in a more heterogeneous population that included patient subgroups with severe respiratory disease and unstable COPD.