Tiotropium Respimat® vs. HandiHaler®: real-life usage and TIOSPIR trial generalizability
Aim Two inhaler devices (Respimat® and HandiHaler®) are available for tiotropium, a long acting anticholinergic agent. We aimed to analyze drug utilization, off-label usage and generalizability of the TIOSPIR trial results for both devices. Methods Patients aged ≥18 years exhibiting at least one documented prescription of tiotropium in the database of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Bavaria, Germany, were included (years 2004–2008). Annual period prevalence rates (PPRs) were calculated stratified by age, gender and inhaler devices. Off-label usage (patients lacking a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosis) and the proportion of patients meeting the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the TIOSPIR trial were analyzed. Results Between 2004 and 2008, PPRs increased and varied between 49.2 and 74.5 per 10 000 persons for HandiHaler® and between 1.5 and 9.3 per 10 000 persons for Respimat®. Small differences regarding patient characteristics existed between the two inhaler devices. Only about 30% (HandiHaler® 32.1%, Respimat® 30.0%) of the database patients receiving tiotropium could be theoretically included in the TIOSPIR trial. Conclusions Comparing the two tiotropium devices, no clinically relevant differences regarding patient and prescribing characteristics were revealed. Results of the TIOSPIR trial were generalizable only to a minority of our study patients, underlining the need for real-life data.