How does efficacy differ between short (≤ 7 days) and conventional (> 7 days) systemic corticosteroid treatment in adults with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide and is projected to become the third leading cause of death by 2020. In the United States, COPD affects 16 million people—and millions more in whom COPD has not been diagnosed or is not being treated. As such, COPD is an important public health issue that requires thorough attention to promote awareness, provide diagnoses, and implement appropriate treatment.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease comprises a group of conditions that block airflow and cause breathing-related problems, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Persistent symptoms and airflow limitations characterize COPD; these are due to airway abnormalities often caused by substantial exposure to harmful particles (eg, cigarette smoke). This exposure results in...

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