Lung drugs injure the heart
A pooled research study involving 17 clinical trials comparing 14,783 patients receiving treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) suggests that Combivent, Spiriva and Atrovent may cause heart-related death in patients. COPD usually afflicts smokers and is sometimes termed chronic bronchitis or emphysema: the cause is usually cigarette smoking. Patients were followed from six weeks to five years in the various studies, and they showed a statistically significant increase in heart attacks, stroke and death from heart disease. The results were reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. One researcher characterized the risk this way: for every 40 people receiving the drugs under study, there was one extra death linked to cardiovascular injury. The drugs were compared with albuterol, another common COPD and asthma treatment.