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Differentiating the Treatment of Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in the Elderly Patient

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The focus of this case is a 70-year-old female who was admitted to an assisted living community following a hospitalization for a severe asthma exacerbation. The diagnosis of asthma in the geriatric patient is often under-recognized, misdiagnosed, and improperly managed. Several factors may explain the misclassification and the undertreatment of asthma in the older patient. This case discusses the pharmacotherapeutic management of asthma in the geriatric patient and differentiates the clinical features of asthma from that of chronic obstructive lung disease. The comprehensive management of asthma should include an interprofessional approach because the consultant pharmacist is an essential member of the health care team.
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Keywords: Asthma; COPD = Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; DPI = Dry-powder inhaler; ED = Emergency department; Elderly; FDA = Food and Drug Administration; FEV1 = Forced expiratory volume in 1 second; FVC = Forced vital capacity; GERD = Gastroesophageal reflux disease; GINA = Global Initiative for Asthma; GOLD = Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease; Geriatric; HFA = Hydrofluoroalkane; ICS = Inhaled corticosteroid; INR = International normalized ratio; LABA = Long acting β2 agonist; MDI = Metered-dose inhaler; NAEPP = National Asthma Education and Prevention Program; NHLBI = National Heart; Lung; and Blood Institute; PEF = Peak expiratory flow; Pharmacotherapy; SABA = Short-acting β2 agonist; Treatment guidelines

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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