Number of People with COPD Expected to Increase Significantly by 2013

New research from Frost & Sullivan indicates that the number of people diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will increase by 34.5 percent by 2013, bringing the number of people diagnosed in the United States from 13.6 million to 18.4 million.

Although smoking is the largest contributing factor to the development of COPD, the number of adult smokers has actually decreased in the last decade. The increase in COPD is expected to happen as a result of the high number of current and former smokers -- 45 million and 45.9 million respectively -- an increase in the aging population, and an increase in the number of people seeking diagnosis for COPD.

The number of people requiring treatment for the disease is expected to result in revenue growth for the oxygen market.

Frost & Sullivan's Research, entitled, Therapeutic Overview and Patient Outlook, cites patient noncompliance as one of the major obstacles in the expansion of the market. According to research, it is estimated that the precription compliance rate for these patients is under 50 percent, and many experts believe that actual compliance rates are much lower. In the Lung Health Study, it was determined that for bronchodilators, compliance as measured by canister weight was actually 10 percent lower than reported compliance rates. Another study founf that compliance rates for patient use of inhaled corticosteroids were as low as 18 percent.

Medications used to treat COPD often come with side effects, which discourage patients from continued use. Drugs that need less frequent dosing have been useful in improving compliance.

This article originally appeared in the July 2007 issue of HME Business.

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