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Currently, there is much controversy surrounding the therapeutic approach to pulmonary function abnormalities in patients with bronchiectasis and, consequently, whether and when to use bronchodilators in these patients. National and international guidelines on the treatment of bronchiectasis in adults do not recommend the routine use of bronchodilators because there is no evidence that a significant response to a bronchodilator or the presence or hyperresponsiveness of the airway are good predictors of future effective clinical response. However, some guidelines recommend them in the presence of airway obstruction and/or special conditions, which vary according to the guideline in question, although there are no recommendations on optimal dosing and bronchodilator treatment combined with or without inhaled corticosteroids. Nonetheless, in contrast with guideline recommendations, bronchodilators are overused in real-world patients with bronchiectasis even in the absence of airway obstruction, as demonstrated by analysis of national and international registries. This overuse can be explained by the awareness of the existence of a solid pharmacological rationale that supports the use of bronchodilators in the presence of chronic airway obstruction independent of its aetiology. We performed a systematic review of the literature and were able to verify that there are no randomised controlled trials (apart from a small study with methodological limitations and a very recent trial involving a not-very-large number of patients), or any long-term observational studies on the short- or long-term effect of bronchodilators in patients with bronchiectasis. Therefore, we believe that it is essential and even urgent to evaluate the effects of bronchodilators in these patients with appropriately designed studies. © 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


Miguel Ángel Martínez-García, Grace Oscullo, Alberto García-Ortega, Maria Gabriella Matera, Paola Rogliani, Mario Cazzola. Rationale and Clinical Use of Bronchodilators in Adults with Bronchiectasis. Drugs. 2022 Jan;82(1):1-13

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PMID: 34826104

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