Glaxo's Advair Cut Risk of Death 17.5% in Lung Disease Patients: Study

A new study may provide hope for the tens of millions of Americans who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that people with COPD -- also known as smoker's cough -- who took the highest dose of GlaxoSmithKline's Advair saw their risk of death go down 17.5%. But that reduction -- by clinical trial standards -- is not considered "statistically significant".

Nonetheless Glaxo, which paid for the study, plans to use the results to try to get the Food & Drug Administration to approve the high dose of Advair for COPD patients.

COPD is the country's fourth leading cause of death. An estimated 24 million people -- most current or former smokers -- have it, but experts say up to 50% of them haven't been diagnosed.