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  1. Benjamin Prudon
  1. Correspondence to Dr Prudon Benjamin, Newcastle Regional Sleep Service, Freeman Hospital, Freeman Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7DN

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Azithromycin maintenance treatment reduces COPD exacerbations

Macrolide maintenance therapy is increasingly being used in COPD. Uzun et al report the results of the COLUMBUS trial which investigates the use of azithromycin in COPD (Lancet Resp Med 2014;2:340–241). A total of 92 patients with COPD suffering from three or more exacerbations per year were randomised to receive 500 mg azithromycin three times a week or placebo for 12 months. The results showed a significant reduction in the exacerbation rate in the treatment group with an exacerbation rate of 1.9/year compared with 3.2/year in the placebo group. There were also less adverse events in the treatment group compared with placebo, with diarrhoea the most frequently occurring adverse event in the treatment group (occurring in 19% of patients).

Smoking prevalence of ethnic minority groups within the UK

The promotion of smoking cessation in the UK through public health campaigns and legislation has resulted in significant reductions in the number of active smokers. However, there are limited data on the current smoking prevalence in those of ethnic minority communities within the UK. Aspinall …

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