This retrospective, observational cohort study aimed to compare treatment outcomes and healthcare costs in the year after initiation of maintenance treatment with budesonide/formoterol or salmeterol/fluticasone in a German healthcare setting.
Data on German asthma patients initiating treatment with budesonide/formoterol or salmeterol/fluticasone between June 2001 and June 2005 were obtained from the IMS Disease Analyzer database. The primary outcome was the probability of treatment success, defined according to short-acting β2-agonist prescriptions and switches or addition of controller medications, during the postindex year. A secondary definition of treatment success included hospitalisations and oral corticosteroid (OCS) prescriptions. Secondary outcomes included severe asthma exacerbations, defined as ≥1 OCS prescription, asthma-related hospitalisation and/or referral. The effect of treatment on costs was estimated using generalised linear models, adjusting for patient and physician characteristics.
There were no significant differences between the budesonide/formoterol (n=1456) and salmeterol/fluticasone (n=982) groups in disease severity markers in the pre-index year. Patients on budesonide/formoterol had a 44% greater probability of treatment success [odds ratio (OR): 1.44; p = 0.0003] according to the primary definition and a 26% greater probability (OR: 1.26; p = 0.0119) according to the secondary definition, fewer severe exacerbations (−33.4%; p = 0.0123) and fewer OCS prescriptions (−31.5%; p = 0.0082) compared with salmeterol/fluticasone, after controlling for baseline characteristics. Adjusting for covariates, budesonide/formoterol had a significant inverse relationship on asthma-related costs compared with salmeterol/fluticasone (−13.4%; p < 0.001). Total cost (asthma- and non-asthma-related costs) was 12.6% lower for budesonide/formoterol (p < 0.0001).
This study suggests that for patients with chronic asthma in Germany, budesonide/formoterol rather than salmeterol/fluticasone had a higher likelihood of treatment success, and that budesonide/formoterol is the less costly option. Although the cohorts appeared to be well matched at baseline, the results should be interpreted with caution given the observational nature of the study.
Divergent strategies have emerged for the management of severe asthma. One strategy utilises high and fixed doses of maintenance treatment, usually inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β2-agonist (ICS/LABA), supplemented by a short-acting β2-agonist (SABA) as needed. Alternatively, budesonide/formoterol is used as both maintenance and reliever therapy. The latter is superior to fixed-dose treatment in reducing severe exacerbations while achieving similar or better asthma control in other regards. Exacerbations may be reduced by the use of budesonide/formoterol as reliever medication during periods of unstable asthma. We examined the risk of a severe exacerbation in the period after a single day with high reliever use.
Episodes of high reliever use were quantified and exacerbations occurring post-index day with these episodes were examined post hoc in two double-blind studies comparing the efficacy and safety of budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy (Symbicort SMART™, Turbuhaler®) 160/4.5 μg twice daily plus as needed with similar or higher maintenance doses of ICS/LABA plus SABA or formoterol.
Budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy significantly reduced the risk of episodes of high reliever use (>6 inhalations/day) vs. all alternative ICS/LABA regimens. With conventional fixed-dose treatment the need for exacerbation treatment within 21 days ranged from 6.0–10.1% of days post-index for all regimens compared with 2.5–3.4% of days with budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy.
Budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy reduces the incidence of high reliever episodes and the exacerbation burden immediately following these episodes vs. alternative ICS/LABA plus SABA regimens at up to double the maintenance dose of ICS.
These studies do not have registration numbers as they were conducted before clinical trial registration was required
Asthma; Asthma in primary care
Asthma’s cost-effectiveness is a major consideration in the evaluation of its treatment options. Our objective was to perform a systematic review of the cost-effectiveness of asthma medications.
We performed a systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, OHE-HEED, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Health Technology Assessments Database, NHS Economic Evaluation Database, and Web of Science and reviewed references from key articles between 1990 and Jan 2008.
A total of 49 RCTs met the inclusion criteria. Maintenance therapy with inhaled corticosteroids was found to be very cost-effective and in uncontrolled asthmatics patients currently being treated with ICS, the combination of an ICS/LABA represents a safe, cost-effective treatment. The simplified strategy using budesonide and formoterol for maintenance and reliever therapy was also found to be as cost-effective as salmeterol/fluticasone plus salbutamol. Omalizumab was found to be cost-effective. An important caveat with regard to the published literature is the relatively high proportion of economic evaluations which are funded by the manufacturers of specific drug treatments.
Future studies should be completed independent of industry support and ensure that the comparator arms within studies should include dosages of drugs that are equivalent.
asthma; medication; cost-effectiveness; cost of illness; economic costs
This randomised, double-blind, 6-month study compared budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and relief with salmeterol/fluticasone and a fixed maintenance dose of budesonide/formoterol, both with terbutaline for relief. Following a 2-week run-in, 3335 symptomatic adults and adolescents (mean FEV1 73% predicted, mean inhaled corticosteroid dose 745 μg/day) received budesonide/formoterol 160/4.5 μg one inhalation bid plus additional inhalations as needed, salmeterol/fluticasone 25/125 μg two inhalations bid plus as-needed terbutaline or budesonide/formoterol 320/9 μg one inhalation bid plus as-needed terbutaline. Budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and relief prolonged the time to first severe exacerbation requiring hospitalisation, emergency room treatment or oral steroids (primary variable) vs. fixed-dose salmeterol/fluticasone and budesonide/formoterol (p = 0.0034 and p = 0.023 respectively; log-rank test). Exacerbation rates were 19, 16 and 12 events/100 patients/6 months for salmeterol/fluticasone, fixed-dose budesonide/formoterol and budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and relief, respectively, [rate reduction vs. fixed-dose salmeterol/fluticasone (0.61; 95% CI 0.49–0.76, p < 0.001) and vs. fixed-dose budesonide/formoterol (0.72; 95% CI 0.57–0.90, p = 0.0048)]. Budesonide/formoterol maintenance and relief patients used less inhaled corticosteroid vs. salmeterol/fluticasone and fixed-dose budesonide/formoterol patients. All treatments provided similar marked improvements in lung function, asthma control days and asthma-related quality of life. Budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and relief reduces asthma exacerbations and maintains similar daily asthma control at a lower overall drug load compared with fixed-dose salmeterol/fluticasone and budesonide/formoterol.
Improving patients' health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is recognized as a fundamental part of asthma management. The aims of this study were to evaluate the long-term efficacy (including symptom-free days and exacerbations) and impact on HRQoL of a stable-dose regimen of salmeterol/fluticasone propionate (SAL/FP) and an adjustable maintenance dosing (AMD) regimen of formoterol/budesonide (FOR/BUD) where treatment is adjusted based on symptoms [SAM40056].
A total of 688 outpatients with asthma receiving regular low-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) plus a long-acting β2-agonist, or medium dose ICS alone participated in this randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel-group, 1-year trial, which was conducted in 91 centers in 15 countries. Patients were randomized to receive 1 inhalation of SAL/FP 50/250 μg BID or 2 inhalations of FOR/BUD 6/200 μg BID during Weeks 1–4. For Weeks 5–52, patients meeting strict continuation criteria for stable asthma at Week 4 received AMD with FOR/BUD or stable-dose SAL/FP.
The percentage of symptom-free days was significantly greater (58.8% vs 52.1%; p = 0.034) and the annual exacerbation rate was significantly lower (47%; p = 0.008) with stable-dose SAL/FP compared with FOR/BUD AMD. A total of 568 patients completed the Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) at least once during the study. The mean change from baseline in AQLQ overall score was numerically greater with SAL/FP than FOR/BUD at week 28 and week 52, but did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.121 at Week 52). However, in a post hoc logistic regression analyses for any AQLQ improvement, significant benefits with SAL/FP were seen at both time points (p = 0.038 and p = 0.009, respectively). The minimally important difference of ≥ 0.5-point improvement in AQLQ overall score was achieved by a significantly greater number of patients receiving SAL/FP at Week 28 (68% vs 60%; p = 0.049); a trend for this difference remained at Week 52 (71% vs 65%) (p = 0.205).
In this population of patients with persistent asthma, stable-dose SAL/FP resulted in significantly greater increases in symptom-free days, a reduction in exacerbation rates, and provided greater HRQoL benefits compared with FOR/BUD AMD.
Clinical Trials registration number NCT00479739
Symptom control in patients with moderate to severe persistent asthma is essential to reduce the significant morbidity associated with the disease. Poor adherence to controller medications has been identified as a major contributing factor to the high level of uncontrolled asthma. This review examines patient perspectives on, and preferences for, controller medications (inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting β2-agonist combinations [ICS/LABA]), and how this may affect adherence to therapy. Fluticasone/salmeterol and budesonide/formoterol, the currently available ICS/LABA combination products, have similar efficacy and tolerability based on a recent meta-analysis of asthma trials. Adherence is higher with the combination ICS/LABAs than when the components are administered separately. Investigations into patient preferences for desirable attributes of asthma medications indicate that an effective reliever with a fast onset and long duration of action is preferred and may lead to improved adherence. This rapid onset of effect was perceived and highly valued in patient surveys, and was associated with greater patient satisfaction. Thus, future research should be directed at therapy that offers both anti-inflammatory activity and a rapid onset of bronchodilator effect. To further improve patient adherence and treatment outcome, the effect of these characteristics as well as other factors on adherence should also be investigated.
budesonide/formoterol; fluticasone/salmeterol; adherence; onset of effect; patient satisfaction
Current practice guidelines for the treatment of COPD recommend the use of combined inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting bronchodilators in severe and very severe patients (GOLD stages III and IV). The aim of this study was to evaluate, through a simulation model, the economic consequences of this recommendation in Italy. We developed a cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) on five alternative therapeutic strategies (salmeterol/fluticasone, SF; formoterol/budesonide, FB; salmeterol alone, S; fluticasone alone, F; control, C). Published data on the Italian COPD population and efficacy data from international reference trials were fitted in a disease progression model based on a Markov chain representing severity stages and death. The yearly total direct costs of treating COPD patients in Italy was estimated at approximately €7 billion, with a mean cost per patient per year of around €2450. Mean survival of the cohort is 11.5 years. The C and F strategies were dominated (ie, are associated with worse outcomes and higher costs) by all alternatives. SF and FB were the most effective strategies, with a slight clinical superiority of SF, but they were also marginally more expensive than S. Incremental cost-effectiveness of SF vs S was €679.5 per avoided exacerbation and €3.3 per symptom-free day. Compared with current practice, the recommended use of combined inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting bronchodilators for severe and very severe COPD patients has the potential for improving clinical outcomes without increasing healthcare costs.
severe COPD; pharmacoeconomics; Markov chain; inhaled corticosteroids; inhaled bronchodilators; cost-effectiveness
The long-acting β2-agonist (LABA) formoterol has an onset of effect comparable to that of salbutamol. Consequently, the combination of formoterol and budesonide in one inhaler, approved for maintenance use, can potentially be used for reliever therapy. This study compared the onset of relief from induced bronchospasm with a single dose of budesonide/formoterol versus standard salbutamol therapy in patients with asthma.
In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, 32 patients with asthma underwent a methacholine provocation test leading to a fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) of ≥30% at enrolment (Visit 1) and three subsequent study visits (Visits 2–4). Immediately after each provocation at Visits 2–4, patients received one of three test treatments: one inhalation of budesonide/formoterol 160/4.5 μg (via Turbuhaler®), two inhalations of salbutamol 100 μg (via a pressurised metered-dose inhaler [pMDI]) or placebo. All patients received each of the test treatments in a randomised order, after separate methacholine provocations. The effect of treatment on FEV1 and breathlessness (using the Borg scale) was measured at 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 minutes after test treatment.
Following methacholine provocation, Borg score increased from a baseline value of below 0.5 to 3.03, 3.31 and 3.50 before treatment with budesonide/formoterol, salbutamol and placebo, respectively. Budesonide/formoterol and salbutamol reversed methacholine-induced dyspnoea (breathlessness) rapidly. At 1 minute after inhalation, statistically significant decreases in Borg score were observed for budesonide/formoterol and salbutamol (p = 0.0233 and p < 0.0001, respectively, versus placebo), with similar rapid increases in FEV1 (both active treatments p < 0.0001 versus placebo). The median time to 50% recovery in Borg score after methacholine provocation was 3 minutes with budesonide/formoterol, 2 minutes with salbutamol and 10 minutes with placebo. All treatments and procedures were well tolerated.
Single doses of budesonide/formoterol and salbutamol both provided rapid relief of dyspnoea and reversal of severe airway obstruction in patients with asthma with experimentally induced bronchoconstriction. The perception of relief, as confirmed by objective lung function assessment, provides evidence that budesonide/formoterol can be used as reliever medication in asthma.
Conventionally, a nebulized short-acting β-2 agonist like salbutamol is often used as the reliever in acute exacerbations of asthma. However, recent worldwide respiratory outbreaks discourage routine use of nebulization. Previous studies have shown that combined budesonide/formoterol (Symbicort®, AstraZeneca) is effective as both a maintenance and reliever anti-asthmatic medication.
We performed a randomized, open-label study from March until August 2011 to compare the bronchodilatory effects of Symbicort® vs. nebulized salbutamol in acute exacerbation of mild to moderate asthmatic attack in an emergency department. Initial objective parameters measured include the oxygen saturation, peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and respiratory rate. During clinical reassessment, subjective parameters [i.e., Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and 5-point Likert scale of breathlessness] and the second reading of the objective parameters were measured. For the 5-point Likert scale, the patients were asked to describe their symptom relief as 1, much worse; 2, a little worse; 3, no change; 4, a little better; 5, much better.
Out of the total of 32 patients enrolled, 17 patients (53%) were randomized to receive nebulized salbutamol and 15 (47%) to receive Symbicort®. For both treatment arms, by using paired t- and Wilcoxon signed rank tests, it was shown that there were statistically significant improvements in oxygen saturation, PEFR and respiratory rate within the individual treatment groups (pre- vs. post-treatment). Comparing the effects of Symbicort® vs. nebulized salbutamol, the average improvement of oxygen saturation was 1% in both treatment arms (p = 0.464), PEFR 78.67 l/min vs. 89.41 l/min, respectively (p = 0.507), and respiratory rate 2/min vs. 2/min (p = 0.890). For subjective evaluation, all patients reported improvement in the VAS (average 2.45 cm vs. 2.20 cm), respectively (p = 0.765). All patients in both treatment arms reported either "a little better" or "much better" on the 5-point Likert scale, with none reporting "no change" or getting worse.
This study suggests that there is no statistical difference between using Symbicort® vs. nebulized salbutamol as the reliever for the first 15 min post-intervention.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
Inhaled beta-agonist, anticholinergic and glucocorticoid medications are used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The present study assessed the patterns of persistence with the above mentioned inhaled medications.
Prescription claims data from the Ontario Drug Benefit Program were analyzed to assess persistence (time to discontinuation) and compliance (percentage of days with doses available divided by days to last refill) of patients prescribed inhaled medications. Patients were grouped as naive (no inhaled medication in the previous year) or experienced (previous or current treatment), and by age (18 to 65 years of age and older than 65 years of age). Medications included ipratropium, ipratropium plus salbutamol, formoterol, formoterol plus budesonide, salmeterol, salmeterol plus fluticasone, and tiotropium.
The database included 31,368 patients (4888 naive and 26,480 experienced) who were prescribed at least one of these medications. Fifteen per cent to 63% of patients continued on the index drug for more than six months, which decreased to 7% to 53% at 12 months, and 5% to 47% at 18 months. At 12 months, patients taking tiotropium had significantly longer persistence compared with other therapies (53% versus 7% to 30%; all P<0.0001), and fewer switches to alternative medications. Most naive patients had significantly shorter treatment persistence than experienced patients for all drugs (all P<0.0001), including tiotropium (27% versus 55%, P<0.0001). Compliance rates were similar for all drugs (ie, 76% to 94%) but were highest for tiotropium.
These data demonstrated that persistence with inhaled treatment was low overall, but patients treated with tiotropium remained on therapy significantly longer than when treated with other medications, and patients naive to inhaled treatment had shorter treatment persistence than experienced patients.
Anticholinergic; Asthma; Beta-agonist; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Glucocorticoid; Medication compliance; Treatment persistence
Adjusting medication for uncontrolled asthma involves selecting one of several options from the same or a higher treatment step outlined in asthma guidelines. We examined the relative benefit of introducing budesonide/formoterol (BUD/FORM) maintenance and reliever therapy (Symbicort SMART® Turbuhaler®) in patients previously prescribed treatments from Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) Steps 2, 3 or 4.
This is a post hoc analysis of the results of five large clinical trials (>12000 patients) comparing BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy with other treatments categorised by treatment step at study entry. Both current clinical asthma control during the last week of treatment and exacerbations during the study were examined.
At each GINA treatment step, the proportion of patients achieving target levels of current clinical control were similar or higher with BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy compared with the same or a higher fixed maintenance dose of inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β2-agonist (ICS/LABA) (plus short-acting β2-agonist [SABA] as reliever), and rates of exacerbations were lower at all treatment steps in BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy versus same maintenance dose ICS/LABA (P < 0.01) and at treatment Step 4 versus higher maintenance dose ICS/LABA (P < 0.001). BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy also achieved significantly higher rates of current clinical control and significantly lower exacerbation rates at most treatment steps compared with a higher maintenance dose ICS + SABA (Steps 2-4 for control and Steps 3 and 4 for exacerbations). With all treatments, the proportion of patients achieving current clinical control was lower with increasing treatment steps.
BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy may be a preferable option for patients on Steps 2 to 4 of asthma guidelines requiring a more effective treatment and, compared with other fixed dose alternatives, is most effective in the higher treatment steps.
There are no published studies that have compared bronchodilatory effect of inhaled budesonide/formoterol combination with budesonide/salbutamol delivered by metered dose inhaler with a spacer in acute exacerbation of asthma in children. We, therefore, compared the bronchodilatory effects of inhaled budesonide/formoterol (dose: 200 μg and 12 μg respectively) combination with budesonide (200 μg)/salbutamol (200 μg) administered by metered dose inhaler and spacer in children of 5-15 years with mild acute exacerbation of asthma [Modified Pulmonary Index Score (MPIS) between 6-8] in this double-blind, randomized controlled trial. The primary outcome was FEV1 (% predicted) in the two groups at 1, 5, 15, 30, 60 min after administration of the study drug.
We did not observe any significant differences in the % predicted FEV1 and MPIS between formoterol and salbutamol at various time points from 1 min to 60 min post drug administration. There was significant improvement in FEV1 (% predicted) from baseline in both the groups as early as 1 min after drug administration.
Salbutamol or formoterol delivered along with inhaled corticosteroid by metered dose inhaler with spacer in children between 5-15 years of age with mild acute exacerbation of asthma had similar bronchodilatory effects.
Acute asthma; Bronchodilatation; Formoterol; Salbutamol
This study was performed to assess the control asthma and quality of care of asthmatic patient in primary health care facilities in Saint-Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia.
We conducted telephone interviews with 205 asthma outpatients (aged 24 to 90 years). Asthma control was assessed by using the Asthma Control Test (ACT).
During the past 12 month spirometry were performed in 26.8%. Only 2% of outpatients were consulted by allergist and 26.8% - by respiratory physicians. Inhaled corticosteroids were prescribed to persistent asthma patients in 79.1%, oral steroids for maintenance therapy were used in 7.3% of outpatients. Fixed combination of budesonide/formoterol and fluticasone/salmeterol were used in 45.4%. Asthma was uncontrolled for 72.2% of patients.
Quality of diagnostics and treatment of asthma in primary health care is not sufficient and should be improved.
Budesonide/formoterol used for both maintenance and reliever therapy has been shown to benefit patients with persistent asthma. We evaluated patient satisfaction and asthma control among Malaysian patients prescribed budesonide/formoterol as single maintenance and reliever therapy in a real-life clinical practice.
Adult patients diagnosed with partially controlled or uncontrolled asthma were recruited in a 6-month, prospective, open-label study involving ten hospital-based chest clinics in Malaysia. Patients were prescribed one or two inhalations of budesonide/formoterol Turbuhaler (160/4.5 μg per inhalation) twice daily as maintenance therapy and additional inhalation as reliever therapy. Maintenance doses were decided by physicians based on Global Initiative for Asthma-defined treatment objectives. The primary outcome measure was the change in mean Satisfaction with Asthma Treatment Questionnaire (SATQ) scores from baseline to an average of 3 months and 6 months. Secondary outcome was the change in mean Asthma Control Questionnaire 5-item version (ACQ-5) scores from baseline to an average of 3 months and 6 months and the proportion of patients achieving the minimum clinically important difference.
Of 201 eligible patients recruited, 195 completed the study. Overall, SATQ mean (standard deviation) score was significantly improved from 5.1 (0.76) at baseline to 5.5 (0.58) (P < 0.001). The increase was observed in all domains of SATQ and had occurred at 3 months for most patients. ACQ-5 mean (standard deviation) score was significantly reduced from 2.2 (1.13) at baseline to 1.2 (0.95) (P < 0.001). A total of 132 (67.7.1%) patients had achieved the minimal clinically important difference (≥0.5) of ACQ-5 scores at study end.
In a nationwide study, budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy achieved greater patient satisfaction and better asthma control compared with previous conventional asthma regimes among Malaysian patients treated in a real-life practice setting. Such an approach may represent an important treatment alternative for our local patients with persistent asthma.
asthma; asthma control; Malaysia; maintenance and reliever therapy; satisfaction; Symbicort; budesonide/formoterol
To study the effectiveness and safety of budesonide/formoterol (Symbicort®) Maintenance And Reliever Therapy (Symbicort SMART®, AstraZeneca, Södertalje, Sweden), a simplified management approach with one inhaler compared with conventional best practice (CBP) with multiple inhalers in patients with persistent asthma.
Open-label randomised controlled parallel group trial, 6-month treatment.
A total of 908 patients ≥ 12 years of age, with persistent asthma receiving treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), either alone or in conjunction with long-acting β2-agonist.
Main outcome measures:
Time to first severe asthma exacerbation and number of severe asthma exacerbations.
No difference between groups was seen in time to first severe exacerbation (p = 0.75). Exacerbation rates were low in both groups. A total of 12 patients in the Symbicort SMART® group experienced a total of 14 severe asthma exacerbations, and 19 patients in the CBP group experienced a total of 25 severe asthma exacerbations (annual rate 0.07 vs. 0.13 p = 0.09). The mean daily dose of ICS expressed in BDP equivalent was significantly lower in the Symbicort SMART® group (including as-needed use) vs. in the CBP group (749 μg vs. 1059 μg; p < 0.0001). Mean scores in Asthma Control Questionnaire, 5 question version improved significantly in the SMART group compared with the CBP group (p = 0.0026). Symbicort SMART and CBP were equally well tolerated.
The mean drug cost/patient/month was significantly lower for the patients in the Symbicort SMART group compared with patients receiving CBP (51.3 € vs. 66.5 €; p < 0.0001).
In Belgian patients, a simplified regimen using budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy was at least as effective at improving clinical control compared with CBP with a significantly lower ICS dose and significantly lower drug costs.
The budesonide/formoterol combination is successfully used for fast relief of asthma symptoms in addition to its use as maintenance therapy. The temporarily increased corticosteroid dose during increasing inhaler use for symptom relief is likely to suppress any temporary increase in airway inflammation and may mitigate or prevent asthma exacerbations. The relative contribution of the budesonide and formoterol components to the improved asthma control is unclear.
The acute protective effect of inhaled budesonide was tested in a model of temporarily increased airway inflammation with repeated indirect airway challenges, mimicking an acute asthma exacerbation. A randomised, double-blind, cross-over study design was used. Asthmatic patients (n = 17, mean FEV1 95% of predicted) who previously demonstrated a ≥30% fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) after inhaling adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP), were challenged on four consecutive test days, with the same dose of AMP (at 09:00, 12:00 and 16:00 hours). Within 1 minute of the maximal AMP-induced bronchoconstriction at 09:00 hours, the patients inhaled one dose of either budesonide/formoterol (160/4.5 μg), formoterol (4.5 μg), salbutamol (2 × 100 μg) or placebo. The protective effects of the randomised treatments were assessed by serial lung function measurements over the test day.
In the AMP provocations at 3 and 7 hours after inhalation, the budesonide/formoterol combination provided a greater protective effect against AMP-induced bronchoconstriction compared with formoterol alone, salbutamol and placebo. In addition all three active treatments significantly increased FEV1 within 3 minutes of administration, at a time when inhaled AMP had induced the 30% fall in FEV1.
A single dose of budesonide/formoterol provided a greater protective effect against inhaled AMP-induced bronchoconstriction than formoterol alone, both at 3 and at 7 hours after inhalation. The acute protection against subsequent bronchoconstrictor stimuli such as inhaled AMP and the rapid reversal of airway obstruction supports the use of budesonide/formoterol for both relief and prevention in the treatment of asthma.
ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT00272753
Objective To investigate the occurrence of pneumonia and pneumonia related events in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treated with two different fixed combinations of inhaled corticosteroid/long acting β2 agonist.
Design Observational retrospective pairwise cohort study matched (1:1) for propensity score.
Setting Primary care medical records data linked to Swedish hospital, drug, and cause of death registry data for years 1999-2009.
Participants Patients with COPD diagnosed by a physician and prescriptions of either budesonide/formoterol or fluticasone/salmeterol.
Main outcome measures Yearly pneumonia event rates, admission to hospital related to pneumonia, and mortality.
Results 9893 patients were eligible for matching (2738 in the fluticasone/salmeterol group; 7155 in the budesonide/formoterol group), yielding two matched cohorts of 2734 patients each. In these patients, 2115 (39%) had at least one recorded episode of pneumonia during the study period, with 2746 episodes recorded during 19 170 patient years of follow up. Compared with budesonide/formoterol, rate of pneumonia and admission to hospital were higher in patients treated with fluticasone/salmeterol: rate ratio 1.73 (95% confidence interval 1.57 to 1.90; P<0.001) and 1.74 (1.56 to 1.94; P<0.001), respectively. The pneumonia event rate per 100 patient years for fluticasone/salmeterol versus budesonide/formoterol was 11.0 (10.4 to 11.8) versus 6.4 (6.0 to 6.9) and the rate of admission to hospital was 7.4 (6.9 to 8.0) versus 4.3 (3.9 to 4.6). The mean duration of admissions related to pneumonia was similar for both groups, but mortality related to pneumonia was higher in the fluticasone/salmeterol group (97 deaths) than in the budesonide/formoterol group (52 deaths) (hazard ratio 1.76, 1.22 to 2.53; P=0.003). All cause mortality did not differ between the treatments (1.08, 0.93 to 1.14; P=0.59).
Conclusions There is an intra-class difference between fixed combinations of inhaled corticosteroid/long acting β2 agonist with regard to the risk of pneumonia and pneumonia related events in the treatment of patients with COPD.
Trial registration Clinical Trials.gov NCT01146392.
The inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) fluticasone propionate (fluticasone) and the long-acting β2-agonist (LABA) formoterol fumarate (formoterol) are being made available as a combination product (fluticasone/formoterol, flutiform®) in a single aerosol inhaler. This 12-week, open-label, randomized, active-controlled, parallel-group, multicentre, phase 3 study compared the efficacy and safety of fluticasone/formoterol with the commercially available combination product fluticasone/salmeterol.
Patients aged ≥ 18 years (N = 202) with mild-to-moderate–severe, persistent asthma for ≥ 6 months prior to screening were included in the study. After a screening phase (4–10 days), eligible patients were randomized 1:1 to receive fluticasone/formoterol or fluticasone/salmeterol during the 12-week treatment period. The primary objective was to demonstrate non-inferiority of fluticasone/formoterol versus fluticasone/salmeterol, measured by pre-dose forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), at week 12.
Fluticasone/formoterol was comparable to fluticasone/salmeterol for the primary efficacy endpoint, mean pre-dose FEV1 at week 12. The new combination was also comparable to fluticasone/salmeterol for change from baseline to week 12 in pre-dose FEV1, change from pre-dose FEV1 at baseline to 2-hour post-dose FEV1 at week 12 and discontinuations due to lack of efficacy. Importantly, fluticasone/formoterol was superior to fluticasone/salmeterol in time to onset of action throughout the duration of the study. The two treatments demonstrated similar results for various other secondary efficacy parameters, including other lung function tests, patient-reported outcomes, rescue medication use, asthma exacerbations and Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire scores. Fluticasone/formoterol was well tolerated and had a good safety profile that was similar to fluticasone/salmeterol.
The results of this study indicate that fluticasone/formoterol is as effective as fluticasone/salmeterol, and has a more rapid onset of action, reflecting the faster bronchodilatory effects of formoterol compared with those of salmeterol. If patients perceive the benefits of therapy with fluticasone/formoterol more rapidly than with fluticasone/salmeterol, this could have a positive impact on preference and adherence.
To estimate the cost-effectiveness of fluticasone propionate–salmeterol combination (FSC) compared to salmeterol for maintenance therapy in severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Pooled economic analysis.
We performed an economic analysis of pooled data from two randomized clinical trials (combined N = 1554) that evaluated the effect of maintenance therapy with FSC (250/50 μg twice daily) or salmeterol (50 μg twice daily) on exacerbation rates in patients with severe COPD. We calculated exacerbation rates and applied standardized costs to exacerbation-related health care utilization reported in the trials (office, urgent care, and emergency department visits; hospitalizations; and oral corticosteroids and antibiotics) to determine cost differences between FSC and salmeterol treatment outcomes.
Annual rates of any exacerbation and moderate/severe exacerbation were lower in the FSC group than the salmeterol group (4.91 vs 5.78 and 1.32 vs 2.00 respectively, both P < 0.05). Total adjusted annual COPD related exacerbation and therapeutic costs were $4,842 (95% CI; $4,731–$4,952) in the FSC group and $5,066 (95% CI; $4,937–$5,195) in the salmeterol group.
FSC combination therapy is associated with reduced risk of any exacerbation and moderate/severe exacerbation, and incurs lower annual COPD-related health care costs compared to treatment with salmeterol. This analysis demonstrates that FSC therapy may be advantageous from both a clinical and cost-benefit standpoint for patients with severe COPD.
COPD; cost-effectiveness analysis; economic; maintenance therapy
The use of a combination inhaler containing budesonide and formoterol as both maintenance and quick relief therapy (SMART) has been recommended as an improved method of using inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β agonist (ICS/LABA) therapy. Published double-blind trials show that budesonide/formoterol therapy delivered in SMART fashion achieves better asthma outcomes than budesonide monotherapy or lower doses of budesonide/formoterol therapy delivered in constant dosage. Attempts to compare budesonide/formoterol SMART therapy with regular combination ICS/LABA dosing using other compounds have been confounded by a lack of blinding and unspecified dose adjustment strategies. The asthma control outcomes in SMART-treated patients are poor; it has been reported that only 17.1% of SMART-treated patients are controlled. In seven trials of 6–12 months duration, patients using SMART have used quick reliever daily (weighted average 0.92 inhalations/day), have awakened with asthma symptoms once every 7–10 days (weighted average 11.5% of nights), have suffered asthma symptoms more than half of days (weighted average 54.0% of days) and have had a severe exacerbation rate of one in five patients per year (weighted average 0.22 severe exacerbations/patient/year). These poor outcomes may reflect the recruitment of a skewed patient population. Although improvement from baseline has been attributed to these patients receiving additional ICS therapy at pivotal times, electronic monitoring has not been used to test this hypothesis nor the equally plausible hypothesis that patients who are non-compliant with maintenance medication have used budesonide/formoterol as needed for self-treatment of exacerbations. Although the long-term consequences of SMART therapy have not been studied, its use over 1 year has been associated with significant increases in sputum and biopsy eosinophilia. At present, there is no evidence that better asthma treatment outcomes can be obtained by moment-to-moment symptom-driven use of ICS/LABA therapy than conventional physician-monitored and adjusted ICS/LABA therapy.
Budesonide; formoterol; compliance; asthma control; exacerbation; study design; asthma; asthma guidelines; asthma pharmacology; perception of asthma/breathlessness
Symbicort SMART® (Symbicort Maintenance and Reliever Therapy) represents a new and unique way of treating patients with moderate-to-severe asthma, ie, those patients who require combination treatment with an inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting inhaled β2-agonist. Symbicort SMART enables patients to use only one inhaler, the budesonide-formoterol combination inhaler, for both maintenance and reliever therapy. The maintenance dose is adjustable, but should be a minimum of two doses per day which can be administered as two doses once daily or as one dose twice daily. It is important that the temporary reliever medication includes not only a bronchodilator but also an antiinflammatory drug because worsening of asthma includes not only more airway narrowing, but also an increase in airway inflammation. The Symbicort SMART concept therefore ensures that the patient gets an antiinflammatory drug at the time of the first signs of asthma worsening. Clinical results show that Symbicort SMART prolongs the time to the first severe asthma exacerbation, reduces the rate of exacerbations, and maintains day-to-day asthma control at a reduced load of corticosteroids (inhaled plus systemic) when compared with higher fixed maintenance doses of combination inhalers. Symbicort SMART consequently offers a more effective and simple approach to asthma management for physicians and patients. Symbicort SMART is also easier for the patient as only one inhaler is required. The positive results with Symbicort SMART can be explained by the early as-needed use on the inhaled corticosteroid component, which puts out the early flames of inflammation, together with the interaction between the β2-agonist, formoterol, and the inhaled corticosteroid, budesonide.
asthma control; combination therapy; inhaled corticosteroid; long-acting β2-agonist; Symbicort SMART® (Symbicort Maintenance and Reliever Therapy)
Cost-effectiveness analyses of asthma controller regimens for adults exist, but similar evaluations exclusively for children are few.
To compare the cost-effectiveness of two commonly used asthma controllers, fluticasone and montelukast, with data from the Pediatric Asthma Controller Trial.
We compared the cost-effectiveness of low-dose fluticasone with montelukast in a randomized controlled multi-center clinical trial in children with mild-moderate persistent asthma. Analyses were also conducted on subgroups based on phenotypic factors. Effectiveness measures included a) the number of asthma-control days, b) the percentage of participants with an increase over baseline of FEV1≥12%, and c) the number of exacerbations avoided. Costs were analyzed from both a US health care payer's perspective and a societal perspective.
For all cost-effectiveness measures studied, fluticasone cost less and was more effective than montelukast; e.g., fluticasone treatment cost $430 less in mean direct cost (P<0.01) and had 40 more asthma control days (P<0.01) during the 48 week study period. Considering sampling uncertainty, fluticasone cost less and was more effective at least 95% of the time. For the high eNO phenotypic subgroup (eNO≥25ppb) and more responsive PC20 subgroup (PC20<2 mg/mL), fluticasone was cost-effective compared with montelukast for all cost-effectiveness measures; whereas not all the effectiveness measures were statistically different for the other two phenotypic subgroups.
For children with mild-moderate persistent asthma, low dose fluticasone had lower cost and higher effectiveness compared with montelukast, especially in those with more airway inflammation as indicated by elevated levels of eNO and more responsivity to methacholine.
Cost-effectiveness analysis; childhood asthma; fluticasone; montelukast; PACT
Acute exacerbations of COPD can complicate the course of the disease in patients with severe airway obstruction. Reduction of exacerbations is an important clinical outcome in evaluating new therapies in COPD. Combination therapies with long-acting β-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids have now been approved for use. Three 1-year randomized clinical trials, which studied the effect of combining a long-acting β2-agonist with an inhaled corticosteroid in COPD, documented that exacerbation frequency was lower with therapy than placebo. Combination therapy had a similar effect to its monocomponents in the trial evaluating salmeterol/fluticasone combination. However, when patients with more severe COPD were studied using a combination of budesonide and formoterol, a clear improvement was seen in the overall exacerbation rates compared with the use of a long-acting β2-agonist alone.
COPD; exacerbation; inhaled corticosteroids; inhaled long-acting β2-agonists; budesonide; fluticasone; formoterol; salmeterol; combination therapy
Clinical trials of a combination therapy of an inhaled corticosteroid, fluticasone propionate (FP), with a long-acting β2-agonist, salmeterol (Sal), have demonstrated a greater improvement in lung function and in quality of life measures after the combination compared with either component of alone. In a subanalysis of the data of the TRISTAN study, Sal/FP reduced exacerbation rates in COPD patients with a baseline FEV1<50% of predicted. A combination therapy of budesonide and formoterol improved quality of life and FEV1, and reduced exacerbations better than either component alone. In studies of FP or of Sal/FP in COPD, there was a reduction in all-cause mortality by 25% relative to placebo. Sal/FP has anti-inflammatory effects in COPD airways. FP inhibits markers of systemic inflammation, and it is not known whether Sal/FP has an advantage over FP alone. While long-acting β2-agonists such as Sal can be recommended for treatment of moderate COPD, addition of inhaled steroid therapy such as FP should be considered in more severe disease.
fluticasone; salmeterol; COPD
Mometasone furoate/formoterol (MF/F) combination therapy is a new treatment recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of persistent asthma and currently under regulatory review by Canadian authorities. We report findings from a noninferiority study that compared effects of MF/F and fluticasone propionate/salmeterol (FP/S) combination therapies on pulmonary function and onset of action in subjects with persistent asthma.
This randomized, active-controlled, multicenter, noninferiority trial enrolled subjects (aged ≥12 years) previously treated with medium-dose inhaled corticosteroid alone or combined with a long-acting β2-agonist. Following a 2- to 4-week run-in treatment period with MF administered via a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) 200 μg twice daily (BID), eligible subjects were randomized to MF/F-MDI 200/10 μg BID or FP/S administered via a dry powder inhaler (DPI) 250/50 μg BID for 12 weeks. The primary endpoint of this trial was change from baseline in area under the curve (AUC) in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) measured serially for 0 to 12 hours postdose (FEV1 AUC0−12h). Key secondary endpoints included onset of action, defined as change from baseline in FEV1 at 5 minutes postdose on day 1.
722 subjects were randomized to MF/F-MDI (n = 371) or FP/S-DPI (n = 351). The trial's primary endpoint was met, demonstrating that MF/F administered via an MDI was noninferior to FP/S administered via a DPI in the patient population investigated. Mean FEV1 AUC0−12h at endpoint for MF/F-MDI and FP/S-DPI was 3.43 versus 3.24 L × h, respectively (95%, CI, −0.40 to 0.76). Analysis of onset-of-action characteristics revealed that MF/F's effect on lung function occurred significantly faster than the effect observed with FP/S-DPI. MF/F-MDI was associated with a 200-mL mean increase from baseline in FEV1 at 5 minutes postdose (first scheduled measurement) on the first day of treatment vs a 90-mL increase for FP/S-DPI (P < 0.001).
This trial demonstrated that MF/F 200/10 μg BID administered via an MDI was noninferior to FP/S 250/50 μg BID administered via a DPI in its effect to improve lung function as measured by FEV1 AUC0–12h. However, the onset of action for this effect was significantly faster with MF/F-MDI than with FP/S-DPI.