Morning and night symptoms in primary care COPD patients: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study. An UNLOCK study from the IPCRG.
- Disease management
COPD symptoms show a diurnal variability. However, morning and night variability has generally not been taken into consideration in disease management plans. The aims of this study were to cross-sectionally assess morning and night symptom prevalence and correlation with health status and disease severity in COPD, and to determine to what extent they could predict longitudinal outcomes, exacerbations and health status. A further aim is to explore whether the CCQ is able to depict this morning/night symptomatology. We included 2,269 primary care COPD patients (58% male, 49% current smokers, with a mean age of 65±11 years) from a Dutch Asthma/COPD service. Spirometry, patient history, the Clinical COPD Questionnaire(CCQ) and the Asthma Control Questionnaire(ACQ) were assessed; we used the latter to evaluate morning (question 2) and night symptoms (question 1). A total of 1159 (51.9%) patients reported morning symptoms (ACQ question 2>0) and 879 (39.4%) had night complaints (ACQ question 1>0). Patients with morning/night symptoms were mostly smokers and had on average poorer lung function, higher CCQ scores and used more rescue inhalers (P<0.0001). Patients using long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) had less night symptoms, showing a possible favourable effect. Only a small proportion of stable or slightly unstable patients (CCQ total scores <2) had severe morning symptoms (ACQ 2⩾4: n=19, 1.1%) or severe night symptoms (ACQ 1⩾4: n=11, 0.7%). Night symptoms seemed to predict future exacerbations; however, baseline exacerbations were the strongest predictors (n=346, OR:4.13, CI: 2.45-6.95, P<0.000). Morning symptoms increased the odds of poor health status at follow-up (n=346, OR:12.22, CI:4.76-31.39, P<0.000). Morning and night symptoms in COPD patients are common, and they are associated with poor health status and predicted future exacerbations. Our study showed that patients with morning/night symptoms have higher scores in CCQ, and therefore we do not really miss patients with high morning/night symptomatology when we only measure CCQ. Severe morning symptoms predicted worsening of COPD health status.