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Should we give long-term macrolide therapy for COPD?
  1. Philip A J Crosbie1,
  2. Mark Woodhead2
  1. 1 North West Lung Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Mark Woodhead, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL, UK; Mark.Woodhead{at}

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We would like to take this opportunity to respond to the invitation from the editors of Thorax to engage in a debate over the current place of macrolide therapy in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We believe that the optimism imparted by Albert et al 1 may hide harmful effects that outweigh the currently perceived benefits. In this placebo-controlled, parallel group (but not double-blind) randomised trial, one-quarter of screened patients were excluded from study entry. The main reason for exclusion was the presence of ‘cardiac issues’ related to the known potential of macrolides …

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