Background: Inhaled bronchodilators including long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) and long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) play a central role in the treatment of stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, it is still unclear whether LABA or LAMA should be used for the initial treatment. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy and safety of LABA versus LAMA in patients with stable COPD. Methods: We searched relevant randomized control trials (RCTs) with a period of treatment of at least 12 weeks and analyzed the exacerbations, quality of life, dyspnea score, lung function and adverse events as the outcomes of interest. Results: We carefully excluded unblinded data and identified a total of 19 RCTs (N = 28,211). LAMA significantly decreased the exacerbations compared to LABA (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.74 to 0.98; P = 0.02). In St George's Respiratory Questionnaire and transitional dyspnoea index score, there were no differences between LABA and LAMA treatment. Compared to LABA, there was a small but significant increase in the trough FEV1 after LAMA treatment (Mean difference 0.02, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.03, P = 0.0006). In the safety components, there was no difference in the serious adverse events between LABA and LAMA. However, LAMA showed a significantly lower incidence of total adverse events compared to LABA (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.86 to 0.98; P = 0.02). Conclusion: Treatment with LAMA in stable COPD provided a significantly lower incidence of exacerbation and non-serious adverse events, and a higher trough FEV1 compared to LABA.
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