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1.  AB 35. Dyspnoea and wheezing don’t always indicate asthma: a case of bronchial typical carcinoid 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2012;4(Suppl 1):AB35.
Background
Bronchial carcinoids are classified among the pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors. They account for 1-2% of pulmonary tumors and 25% of carcinoid tumors. Due to their clinical presentation they can be falsely diagnosed as asthma.
Patients and methods
We present the case of a 42 year old woman who suffered from a typical carcinoid tumor which was successfully treated with lobectomy with bronchoplasty. The patient visited the emergency department because of fever and left chest pain, as well as paroxysmal cough. She reported a previous history of “pneumonia” 8 months ago. She was diagnosed with asthma since then, and followed systematic treatment with bronchodilators and ICS without any relief from her symptoms. At physical examination, breath sounds were decreased at the base of the left lung and the chest X-ray showed left lower lobe atelectasis. The CT chest scan that followed confirmed the presence of endobronchial tissue in the left main bronchus, without pathologically enlarged mediastinal or axillary lymph nodes. A bronchoscopy revealed a tumor, arising from the left lower lobe bronchus that caused its complete obstruction and almost complete blockage of the left main bronchus. A biopsy of the lesion was compatible with bronchial typical carcinoid.
Results
The patient experienced sudden deterioration of respiratory function and intense chest pain. She was urgently taken to the operating room where she underwent left lower lobectomy with bronchoplasty. The surgical specimen confirmed the histological diagnosis (limited number of mitosis <1/10 and immunophenotype: synaptophysin + chromogranin +, CD56+, CK8/18+, TTF-). Lymph node metastases were not detected. The postoperative course was smooth and the endoscopic control of the bronchial stump excellent.
Conclusions
In patients with persistent asthma symptoms that do not respond to medication, diagnosis should be revised. Lobectomy with bronchoplasty is a successful method of surgical removal of typical carcinoids and the long-term effects are comparable to those of pneumonectomy.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2012.s035
PMCID: PMC3537440
2.  564 Is It Really Difficult-to-treat Asthma? Don't Forget Other Causes of Wheeze 
Background
One in 4 asthma patients may not have their condition adequately controlled and experience persistent symptoms despite treated with high healthcare utilization. But do all of them really have asthma?
Methods
Here we present 3 cases; all were diagnosed as asthma, had been treating with multiple bronchodilators, even oral steroids and were not responding to the treatment. And so they were refered to our clinic as having difficult-to-treat asthma as candidates for omelizumab therapy.
Results
Case1: A 44-year-old female presented with 18 years history of dyspnea, wheeze and chronic cough. Her FEV1 was 37% of the predicted (0.93 lt), FVC and FEV1/FVC were subnormal and showed no reversibility. CT scan showed a deformed trachea with a diverticula in the posterior region with cystic bronchiectasis in lung parenchyma, bilaterally. Bronchial endoscopy showed dyskinesia extending almost totally throughout the tracheobronchial tree with complete expiratory collapse. Her diagnosis was changed as Mounier-Kuhn syndrome. Case 2: A 19-year-old female presented with 11 years history of persistent wheezing and dyspnea which were progressively increasing for the last 5 years. Her FEV1 was 85% and the FEV1/FVC % 77 of the predicted, showed no reversibility. Her CT scan was in normal limits. Fiberoptic bronchoscopy revealed a severe airway stenosis like a pinhole at the beginning of the right main bronchus, adjacent to the carina. Excluding her asthma diagnosis she underwent a balloon dilatation procedure, which improved her symptoms. Case 3: A 50-year-old female presented with 16 years history of dyspnea, wheeze, chronic cough. Her FEV1 was 40% of the predicted (0.91 lt), and showed reversibility of 28%. She had an elevated total IgE level of 1126 IU/mL with serum eosinophilia of 5.5%. Her HRCT scan revealed bilateral central bronchiectasis with fleeting pulmonary parenchymal opacities. Her sensitization to Aspergillus fumigatus was shown by positive skin testing. She was diagnosed as having allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis and oral itracanosole with steroid were added to her treatment which improved her symptoms.
Conclusions
Although all patients' symptoms looked like asthma, and all diagnosed as having asthma for many years, the diagnosis should always be confirmed before accepting them as “difficult-to-treat”.
doi:10.1097/01.WOX.0000411679.65031.5e
PMCID: PMC3513106
3.  Combination formoterol and inhaled steroid versus beta2-agonist as relief medication for chronic asthma in adults and children 
Background
Formoterol has a fast onset of action and can therefore be used to relieve symptoms of asthma. A combination inhaler can deliver formoterol with different doses of inhaled corticosteroid; when used as a reliever both drugs will be delivered more frequently when asthma symptoms increase. This has the potential to treat both bronchoconstriction and inflammation in the early stages of exacerbations.
Objectives
To assess the efficacy and safety of combined inhalers containing both formoterol and an inhaled corticosteroid when used for reliever therapy in adults and children with chronic asthma.
Search methods
We last searched the Cochrane Airways Group trials register in April 2009, and no new studies were found for inclusion in the review.
Selection criteria
Randomised trials in adults and children with chronic asthma, where a combination inhaler containing formoterol and inhaled corticosteroid is compared with fast-acting beta2-agonist alone for the relief of asthma symptoms. This should be the only planned difference between the trial arms.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently extracted the characteristics and results of each study. Authors or manufacturers were asked to supply unpublished data in relation to primary outcomes.
Main results
Three trials involving 5905 participants were included. In patients with mild asthma who do not need maintenance treatment, no clinically important advantages of budesonide/formoterol as reliever were found in comparison to formoterol as reliever.
Two studies enrolled patients with more severe asthma who were not controlled on high doses of inhaled corticosteroids (around 700 mcg/day in adults), and had suffered a clinically important asthma exacerbation in the past year. Hospitalisations related to asthma in the two studies comparing budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and relief with the same dose of budesonide/formoterol for maintenance with terbutaline for relief yielded an odds ratio of 0.68 (95% CI 0.40 to 1.16), which was not a statistically significant reduction. In adults there was a reduction in exacerbations requiring oral corticosteroids compared to terbutaline, odds ratio 0.54 (95% CI 0.44 to 0.65), which translates into a number needed to treat over 12 months of 15 (95% CI 13 to 21). The study in children found less serious adverse events with budesonide/formoterol used for maintenance and relief. There was no significant difference in annual growth in children using budesonide/formoterol reliever in comparison to terbutaline.
Authors’ conclusions
In mild asthma it is not yet known whether patients who use a budesonide/formoterol inhaler for relief of asthma symptoms derive any clinically important benefits. In more severe asthma, two studies enrolled patients who were not controlled on inhaled corticosteroids, and had suffered an exacerbation in the previous year, and then had their maintenance inhaled corticosteroids reduced in both arms of the study. Under these conditions the studies demonstrated a reduction in the risk of exacerbations that require oral corticosteroids with budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and relief in comparison with budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and terbutaline or formoterol for relief. The incidence of serious adverse events in children was also less using budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and relief in one study, which similarly enrolled children who were not controlled on inhaled corticosteroids, and who had their maintenance inhaled corticosteroids reduced at the start of the study. This study also compared an explorative maintenance dose of budesonide/formoterol that is not approved for treatment.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007085.pub2
PMCID: PMC4023854  PMID: 19160317
Administration, Inhalation; Anti-Asthmatic Agents [*administration & dosage]; Asthma [*drug therapy]; Bronchial Diseases [drug therapy]; Bronchodilator Agents [*administration & dosage]; Budesonide [*administration & dosage]; Chronic Disease; Constriction, Pathologic [drug therapy]; Drug Combinations; Ethanolamines [*administration & dosage]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Terbutaline [administration & dosage]; Adolescent; Adult; Child; Humans
4.  The Effect of Budesonide/Formoterol Pressurized Metered-Dose Inhaler on Predefined Criteria for Worsening Asthma in Four Different Patient Populations with Asthma 
Drugs in R&d  2012;12(1):9-14.
Background Previous studies have shown disparities between Black and Hispanic patients compared with other populations in response to asthma medications.
Objective: The aim of this analysis was to assess the effect of budesonide/formoterol pressurized metered-dose inhaler (BUD/FM pMDI) and BUD on predefined criteria for asthma worsening, an asthma control metric generally aligned with definitions of moderate asthma exacerbations, across four different populations.
Methods: Data were from four 12-week, randomized, double-blind,US studies of BUD/FM pMDI treatment in patients aged 12 years or older with varying asthma severities and of varying races. Predefined asthma events and withdrawals due to predefined events were assessed as secondary study endpoints. Study I (NCT00651651) includes data from predominantly White patients with mild to moderate asthma who were randomized to BUD/FM pMDI 160/9 μg twice daily (bid; n = 123) or BUDpMDI 160 μg bid (n = 121). Study II (NCT00652002) includes data from predominantly White patients withmoderate to severe asthma who were randomized to BUD/FM pMDI 320/9 μg bid (n = 124) or BUD pMDI 320 μg bid (n = 109). Study III (NCT00702325) included self-reported Black patients with moderate to severe asthma who were randomized to BUD/FM pMDI 320/9 μg bid (n = 153) or BUD dry powder inhaler 360 μg bid (n = 148). Study IV (NCT00419757) included self-reported Hispanic patients with moderate to severe asthma who were randomized to BUD/FM pMDI 320/9 μg bid (n = 127) or BUD pMDI 320 μg bid (n = 123). Patients were to be withdrawn from the studies if they developed an asthma event, as determined by predefined criteria, except for night-time awakenings, where withdrawal was left to the study physician’s judgment.
Results: Overall, fewer patients in the studies (study I, II, III, and IV, respectively) experienced ≧1 asthma event in the BUD/FM group (18.7%, 29.8%, 37.3%, 25.2%) versus the BUD group (21.5%, 44.0%, 45.3%, 31.7%); only study II results showed a statistically significant difference between treatments. Fewer patients with moderate to severe asthma (studies II, III, and IV) were withdrawn due to ≧1 asthma event in the BUD/FM group (10.5%, 11.8%, 3.1%, respectively) than in the BUD group (20.2%, 18.9%, 6.5%, respectively); however, percentages were similar in the BUD/FM (7.3%) and BUD (6.6%) groups in patients with mild to moderate asthma (study I).
Conclusions: Predefined asthma event rates were numerically or significantly lower for patients with asthma receiving BUD/FMpMDI versusBUD, regardless of race or disease severity. Differences between the BUD/FM pMDI and BUD groupswere smaller in patients with mild to moderate asthma than in those with moderate to severe asthma, most likely because patients with milder disease had lower asthma event rates. Overall, these findings support the efficacy of BUD/FM pMDI in achieving asthma control in patients with moderate to severe asthma.
doi:10.2165/11630600-000000000-00000
PMCID: PMC3586061  PMID: 22329608
5.  The Effect of Budesonide/Formoterol Pressurized Metered-Dose Inhaler on Predefined Criteria for Worsening Asthma in Four Different Patient Populations with Asthma 
Drugs in R&D  2012;12(1):9-14.
Background Previous studies have shown disparities between Black and Hispanic patients compared with other populations in response to asthma medications.
Objective: The aim of this analysis was to assess the effect of budesonide/formoterol pressurized metered-dose inhaler (BUD/FM pMDI) and BUD on predefined criteria for asthma worsening, an asthma control metric generally aligned with definitions of moderate asthma exacerbations, across four different populations.
Methods: Data were from four 12-week, randomized, double-blind,US studies of BUD/FM pMDI treatment in patients aged 12 years or older with varying asthma severities and of varying races. Predefined asthma events and withdrawals due to predefined events were assessed as secondary study endpoints. Study I (NCT00651651) includes data from predominantly White patients with mild to moderate asthma who were randomized to BUD/FM pMDI 160/9 μg twice daily (bid; n = 123) or BUDpMDI 160 μg bid (n = 121). Study II (NCT00652002) includes data from predominantly White patients withmoderate to severe asthma who were randomized to BUD/FM pMDI 320/9 μg bid (n = 124) or BUD pMDI 320 μg bid (n = 109). Study III (NCT00702325) included self-reported Black patients with moderate to severe asthma who were randomized to BUD/FM pMDI 320/9 μg bid (n = 153) or BUD dry powder inhaler 360 μg bid (n = 148). Study IV (NCT00419757) included self-reported Hispanic patients with moderate to severe asthma who were randomized to BUD/FM pMDI 320/9 μg bid (n = 127) or BUD pMDI 320 μg bid (n = 123). Patients were to be withdrawn from the studies if they developed an asthma event, as determined by predefined criteria, except for night-time awakenings, where withdrawal was left to the study physician’s judgment.
Results: Overall, fewer patients in the studies (study I, II, III, and IV, respectively) experienced ≧1 asthma event in the BUD/FM group (18.7%, 29.8%, 37.3%, 25.2%) versus the BUD group (21.5%, 44.0%, 45.3%, 31.7%); only study II results showed a statistically significant difference between treatments. Fewer patients with moderate to severe asthma (studies II, III, and IV) were withdrawn due to ≧1 asthma event in the BUD/FM group (10.5%, 11.8%, 3.1%, respectively) than in the BUD group (20.2%, 18.9%, 6.5%, respectively); however, percentages were similar in the BUD/FM (7.3%) and BUD (6.6%) groups in patients with mild to moderate asthma (study I).
Conclusions: Predefined asthma event rates were numerically or significantly lower for patients with asthma receiving BUD/FMpMDI versusBUD, regardless of race or disease severity. Differences between the BUD/FM pMDI and BUD groupswere smaller in patients with mild to moderate asthma than in those with moderate to severe asthma, most likely because patients with milder disease had lower asthma event rates. Overall, these findings support the efficacy of BUD/FM pMDI in achieving asthma control in patients with moderate to severe asthma.
doi:10.2165/11630600-000000000-00000
PMCID: PMC3586061  PMID: 22329608
6.  Association of Adenotonsillectomy with Asthma Outcomes in Children: A Longitudinal Database Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(11):e1001753.
Rakesh Bhattacharjee and colleagues use data from a US private health insurance database to compare asthma severity measures in children one year before and one year after they underwent adenotonsillectomy with asthma measures in those who did not undergo adenotonsillectomy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Childhood asthma and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), both disorders of airway inflammation, were associated in recent observational studies. Although childhood OSA is effectively treated by adenotonsillectomy (AT), it remains unclear whether AT also improves childhood asthma. We hypothesized that AT, the first line of therapy for childhood OSA, would be associated with improved asthma outcomes and would reduce the usage of asthma therapies in children.
Methods and Findings
Using the 2003–2010 MarketScan database, we identified 13,506 children with asthma in the United States who underwent AT. Asthma outcomes during 1 y preceding AT were compared to those during 1 y following AT. In addition, 27,012 age-, sex-, and geographically matched children with asthma without AT were included to examine asthma outcomes among children without known adenotonsillar tissue morbidity. Primary outcomes included the occurrence of a diagnostic code for acute asthma exacerbation (AAE) or acute status asthmaticus (ASA). Secondary outcomes included temporal changes in asthma medication prescriptions, the frequency of asthma-related emergency room visits (ARERs), and asthma-related hospitalizations (ARHs). Comparing the year following AT to the year prior, AT was associated with significant reductions in AAE (30.2%; 95% CI: 25.6%–34.3%; p<0.0001), ASA (37.9%; 95% CI: 29.2%–45.6%; p<0.0001), ARERs (25.6%; 95% CI: 16.9%–33.3%; p<0.0001), and ARHs (35.8%; 95% CI: 19.6%–48.7%; p = 0.02). Moreover, AT was associated with significant reductions in most asthma prescription refills, including bronchodilators (16.7%; 95% CI: 16.1%–17.3%; p<0.001), inhaled corticosteroids (21.5%; 95% CI: 20.7%–22.3%; p<0.001), leukotriene receptor antagonists (13.4%; 95% CI: 12.9%–14.0%; p<0.001), and systemic corticosteroids (23.7%; 95% CI: 20.9%–26.5%; p<0.001). In contrast, there were no significant reductions in these outcomes in children with asthma who did not undergo AT over an overlapping follow-up period. Limitations of the MarketScan database include lack of information on race and obesity status. Also, the MarketScan database does not include information on children with public health insurance (i.e., Medicaid) or uninsured children.
Conclusions
In a very large sample of privately insured children, AT was associated with significant improvements in several asthma outcomes. Contingent on validation through prospectively designed clinical trials, this study supports the premise that detection and treatment of adenotonsillar tissue morbidity may serve as an important strategy for improving asthma control.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The global burden of asthma has been rising steadily over the past few decades. Nowadays, about 200–300 million adults and children worldwide are affected by asthma, a chronic condition caused by inflammation of the airways (the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs). Although asthma can develop at any age, it is often diagnosed in childhood—asthma is one of the commonest chronic diseases in children. In the US, for example, asthma affects around 7.1 million children under the age of 18 years and is the third leading cause of hospitalization of children under the age of 15 years. In people with asthma, the airways can react very strongly to allergens such as animal fur or to irritants such as cigarette smoke. Exercise, cold air, and infections can trigger asthma attacks, which can be fatal. The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma cannot be cured, but drugs can relieve its symptoms and prevent acute asthma attacks.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recent studies have found an association between severe childhood asthma and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In OSA, airway inflammation promotes hypertrophy (excess growth) of the adenoids and the tonsils, immune system tissues in the upper airway. During sleep, the presence of hypertrophic adenotonsillar tissues predisposes the walls of the throat to collapse, which results in apnea—a brief interruption in breathing. People with OSA often snore loudly and frequently wake from deep sleep as they struggle to breathe. Childhood OSA, which affects 2%–3% of children, can be effectively treated by removal of the adenoids and tonsils (adenotonsillectomy). Given the association between childhood OSA and severe asthma and given the involvement of airway inflammation in both conditions, might adenotonsillectomy also improve childhood asthma? Here, the researchers analyze data from the MarketScan database, a large database of US patients with private health insurance, to investigate whether adenotonsillectomy is associated with improvements in asthma outcomes and with reductions in the use of asthma therapies in children.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used the database to identify 13,506 children with asthma who had undergone adenotonsillectomy and to obtain information about asthma outcomes among these children for the year before and the year after the operation. Because asthma severity tends to decrease with age, the researchers also used the database to identify 27,012 age-, sex-, and geographically matched children with asthma who did not have the operation so that they could examine asthma outcomes over an equivalent two-year period in the absence of complications related to adenotonsillar hypertrophy. Comparing the year after adenotonsillectomy with the year before the operation, adenotonsillectomy was associated with a 30% reduction in acute asthma exacerbations, a 37.9% reduction in acute status asthmaticus (an asthma attack that is unresponsive to the drugs usually used to treat attacks), a 25.6% reduction in asthma-related emergency room visits, and a 35.8% reduction in asthma-related hospitalizations. By contrast, among the control children, there was only a 2% reduction in acute asthma exacerbations and only a 7% reduction in acute status asthmaticus over an equivalent two-year period. Adenotonsillectomy was also associated with significant reductions (changes unlikely to have occurred by chance) in prescription refills for most types of drugs used to treat asthma, whereas there were no significant reductions in prescription refills among children with asthma who had not undergone adenotonsillectomy. The study was limited by the lack of measures of race and obesity, which are both associated with severity of asthma.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in a large sample of privately insured children in the US, adenotonsillectomy was associated with significant improvements in several asthma outcomes. These results do not show, however, that adenotonsillectomy caused a reduction in the severity of childhood asthma. It could be that the children who underwent adenotonsillectomy (but not those who did not have the operation) shared another unknown factor that led to improvements in their asthma over time. To prove a causal link, it will be necessary to undertake a randomized controlled trial in which the outcomes of groups of children with asthma who are chosen at random to undergo or not undergo adenotonsillectomy are compared. However, with the proviso that there are some risks associated with adenotonsillectomy, these findings suggest that the detection and treatment of adenotonsillar hypertrophy may help to improve asthma control in children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001753.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on asthma, including videos, games, and links to other resources for children with asthma
The American Lung Association provides detailed information about asthma and a fact sheet on asthma in children; it also has information about obstructive sleep apnea
The National Sleep Foundation provides information on snoring and obstructive sleep apnea in children
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information (including some personal stories) about asthma, about asthma in children, and about obstructive sleep apnea
The “Global Asthma Report 2014” will be available in October 2014
MedlinePlus provides links to further information on asthma, on asthma in children, on sleep apnea, and on tonsils and adenoids (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001753
PMCID: PMC4219664  PMID: 25369282
7.  276 A 4-Year Follow-up in Children With Moderate/Severe Asthma after Withdrawal 1 Year Omalizumab Treatment 
Background
Asthma guidelines include omalizumab in the step up management in those patients with severe non-controlled asthma despite the use of the inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) at the highest dose recommended and/or oral corticosteroids (OCS) courses. This communication describes the 4 year follow up of children with moderate/severe allergic asthma treated for 1 year with add-on omalizumab after discontinuation.
Methods
7 children (6 to <12 years) with moderate/severe uncontrolled asthma following strict inclusion/exclusion criteria. The patients completed a 1 year treatment with omalizumab according to the DBPC CIGE025 clinical study protocol. Four years follow up after discontinuation of the study medication was performed. It included clinical assessment, different asthma-related outcomes and lung function in outpatient hospital office
Results
All patients that received xolair during the study period achieved good asthma control and high dose ICS (mean dose fluticasone 500 mcg) were could be discontinued. Surprisingly, the 7 patients that received Xolair for one year were completely free of asthma symptoms during the first 3 years of follow up. They did not use any additional asthma medication. After the third year of follow up, only 2 out of 7 (28%) patients begun with persistent asthma symptoms and exacerbations. These patients have required rescue medication and then regular controller medication (budesonide 400 mcg). We could not identified any risk factor helping in predicting those who had symptoms relapsing. Lung function, number of exacerbation, number of hospitalization, eosinophilia, IgE levels or previous treatments with OCS
Conclusions
Most of these patients 5 out of 7 still remain asymptomatic 4 years after discontinuation Xolair without regular ICS treatment. They are still not using any controller medication only 2 patients had exacerbations and at present show persistent mild asthma controlled with medium ICS therapy. This follow up would generate the hypothesis that omalizumab could have a potential as a modifier of the natural history of asthma beyond the improvement of symptoms control in children with moderate/severe uncontrolled asthma. Further studies are needed to test this hypothesis.
doi:10.1097/01.WOX.0000412033.47007.6f
PMCID: PMC3512580
8.  Satisfaction levels and asthma control amongst Malaysian asthmatic patients on budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy: experience in a real-life setting 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.2147/PROM.S19211
PMCID: PMC3506021  PMID: 23185124
asthma; asthma control; Malaysia; maintenance and reliever therapy; satisfaction; Symbicort; budesonide/formoterol
9.  Misdiagnosed Case of Bronchial Carcinoid Presenting with Refractory Dyspnoea and Wheeze: A Rare Case Report and Review of Literature 
A 59-year-old male smoker presented with persistent wheezing and occasional coughing that had been ongoing for two years and had been unsuccessfully treated with an inhalational β2 agonist, an anticholinergic and an inhalational steroid in the last year. On clinical examination, a left-sided wheeze was detected. The initial chest X-ray was normal. A computed tomography (CT) scan of thorax demonstrated a mass lesion in the left main bronchus. On subsequent bronchoscopy, an endobronchial polypoid mass was detected in the left main bronchus, completely occluding the bronchial lumen. A biopsy taken from the mass revealed features of bronchial carcinoid. Bronchial carcinoid can present uncommonly with wheezes, resulting in misdiagnosis as bronchial asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If an asthma or COPD patient does not respond to conventional therapy, a CT scan and subsequent bronchoscopy is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3743987  PMID: 23966830
asthma; bronchoscopy; carcinoid tumour; neuroendocrine tumors
10.  Breathlessness With Pulmonary Metastases: A Multimodal Approach 
Case Study 
Sarah is a 58-year-old breast cancer survivor, social worker, and health-care administrator at a long-term care facility. She lives with her husband and enjoys gardening and reading. She has two grown children and three grandchildren who live approximately 180 miles away.
SECOND CANCER DIAGNOSIS 
One morning while showering, Sarah detected a painless quarter-sized lump on her inner thigh. While she thought it was unusual, she felt it would probably go away. One month later, she felt the lump again; she thought that it had grown, so she scheduled a visit with her primary care physician. A CT scan revealed a 6.2-cm soft-tissue mass in the left groin. She was referred to an oncologic surgeon and underwent an excision of the groin mass. Pathology revealed a grade 3 malignant melanoma. She was later tested and found to have BRAF-negative status. Following her recovery from surgery, Sarah was further evaluated with an MRI scan of the brain, which was negative, and a PET scan, which revealed two nodules in the left lung.
As Sarah had attended a cancer support group during her breast cancer treatment in the past, she decided to go back to the group when she learned of her melanoma diagnosis. While the treatment options for her lung lesions included interleukin-2, ipilimumab (Yervoy), temozolomide, dacarbazine, a clinical trial, or radiosurgery, Sarah's oncologist felt that ipilimumab or radiosurgery would be the best course of action. She shared with her support group that she was ambivalent about this decision, as she had experienced profound fatigue and nausea with chemotherapy during her past treatment for breast cancer. She eventually opted to undergo stereotactic radiosurgery.
DISEASE RECURRENCE 
After the radiosurgery, Sarah was followed every 2 months. She complained of shortness of breath about 2 weeks prior to each follow-up visit. Each time her chest x-ray was normal, and she eventually believed that her breathlessness was anxiety-related. Unfortunately, Sarah’s 1-year follow-up exam revealed a 2 cm × 3 cm mass in her left lung, for which she had a surgical wedge resection. Her complaints of shortness of breath increased following the surgery and occurred most often with anxiety, heat, and gardening activities, especially when she needed to bend over. Sarah also complained of a burning "pins and needles" sensation at the surgical chest wall site that was bothersome and would wake her up at night.
Sarah met with the nurse practitioner in the symptom management clinic to discuss her concerns. Upon physical examination, observable signs of breathlessness were lacking, and oxygen saturation remained stable at 94%, but Sarah rated her breathlessness as 7 on the 0 to 10 Borg scale. The nurse practitioner prescribed duloxetine to help manage the surgical site neuropathic pain and to assist with anxiety, which in turn could possibly improve Sarah’s breathlessness. Several nonpharmacologic modalities for breathlessness were also recommended: using a fan directed toward her face, working in the garden in the early morning when the weather is cooler, gardening in containers that are at eye level to avoid the need to bend down, and performing relaxation exercises with pursed lip breathing to relieve anxiety-provoked breathlessness. One month later, Sarah reported relief of her anxiety; she stated that the fan directed toward her face helped most when she started to feel "air hungry." She rated her breathlessness at 4/10 on the Borg scale.
SECOND RECURRENCE: MULTIPLE PULMONARY NODULES 
Sarah’s chest x-rays remained clear for 6 months, but she developed a chronic cough shortly before the 9-month exam. An x-ray revealed several bilateral lung lesions and growth in the area of the previously resected lung nodule. Systemic therapy was recommended, and she underwent two cycles of ipilimumab. Sarah’s cough and breathlessness worsened, she developed colitis, and she decided to stop therapy after the third cycle. In addition, her coughing spells triggered bronchospasms that resulted in severe anxiety, panic attacks, and air hunger. She rated her breathlessness at 10/10 on the Borg scale during these episodes. She found communication difficult due to the cough and began to isolate herself. She continued to attend the support group weekly but had difficulty participating in conversation due to her cough.
Sarah was seen in the symptom management clinic every 2 weeks or more often as needed. No acute distress was present at the beginning of each visit, but when Sarah began to talk about her symptoms and fear of dying, her shortness of breath and anxiety increased. The symptom management nurse practitioner treated the suspected underlying cause of the breathlessness and prescribed oral lorazepam (0.5 to 1 mg every 6 hours) for anxiety and codeine cough syrup for the cough. Opioids were initiated for chest wall pain and to control the breathlessness. Controlled-release oxycodone was started at 10 mg every 12 hours with a breakthrough pain (BTP) dose of 5 mg every 2 hours as needed for breathlessness or pain. Sarah noted improvement in her symptoms and reported a Borg scale rating of 5/10. Oxygen therapy was attempted, but subjective improvement in Sarah’s breathlessness was lacking.
END OF LIFE 
Sarah’s disease progressed to the liver, and she began experiencing more notable signs of breathlessness: nasal flaring, tachycardia, and restlessness. Opioid doses were titrated over the course of 3 months to oxycodone (40 mg every 12 hours) with a BTP dose of 10 to 15 mg every 2 hours as needed, but her breathlessness caused significant distress, which she rated 8/10. The oxycodone was rotated to IV morphine continuous infusion with patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) that was delivered through her implantable port. This combination allowed Sarah to depress the PCA as needed and achieve immediate control of her dyspneic episodes. Oral lorazepam was also continued as needed.
Sarah’s daughter moved home to take care of her mother, and hospice became involved for end-of-life care. As Sarah became less responsive, nurses maintained doses of morphine for control of pain and breathlessness and used a respiratory distress observation scale to assess for breathlessness since Sarah could no longer self-report. A bolus PCA dose of morphine was administered by Sarah’s daughter if her mother appeared to be in distress. Sarah died peacefully in her home without signs of distress.
PMCID: PMC4093448  PMID: 25032021
11.  Protocol: Influence of Budesonide and Budesonide/Formoterol on Asthma Control in Smoking Asthmatic Adults 
Rationale:
A reduced response to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) has been reported in smoking asthmatic patients but the effects of other medications remain to be evaluated in this population.
Subjects and Methods:
We evaluated the effects of a combined therapy of budesonide 200 µg twice daily and formoterol 6 µg twice daily compared with budesonide 200 µg twice daily alone on asthma control questionnaire (ACQ), asthma quality of life questionnaire (AQLQ- Juniper), pulmonary function and airway inflammation, in a cross-over randomized double-blind study with treatment periods of two months separated by a one-month wash-out period. Seventeen smoking and 22 non-smoking patients not using inhaled corticosteroids with slightly uncontrolled mild asthma completed the study.
Results:
ACQ and AQLQ scores were similar in both groups at baseline and improved similarly after treatments. β2-agonist use was higher in smokers, regardless of the treatment received (p=0.03), as it was on baseline (p=0.003). Smokers treated with budesonide/formoterol showed an increase in the number of asthma episodes (intercurrent asthma symptoms, p=0.016) while non-smoking subjects had a significant decrease in these episodes (p=0.009). No difference was found between smokers and non-smokers in regard to post-treatment airway inflammatory parameters.
Conclusions:
No significant differences were found between smoking and non-smoking subjects with mild asthma in regard to clinical changes in asthma control, pulmonary function and airway inflammation following a 2-month treatment period with budesonide or the association of budesonide and formoterol for a period of 2 months. This should be further explored in larger groups of subjects.
doi:10.2174/1874306401004010051
PMCID: PMC2928915  PMID: 20802810
Asthma; formoterol; budesonide; smoking.
12.  Asthma control in patients receiving inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta2-agonist fixed combinations. A real-life study comparing dry powder inhalers and a pressurized metered dose inhaler extrafine formulation 
Background
Although patients have more problems using metered dose inhalers, clinical comparisons suggest they provide similar control to dry powder inhalers. Using real-life situations this study was designed to evaluate asthma control in outpatients with moderate to severe persistent asthma and to compare efficacy of fixed combinations of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long acting beta-agonists (LABA).
Methods
This real-life study had a cross-sectional design. Patients using fixed combinations of ICS and LABA had their asthma control and spirometry assessed during regular visits.
Results
111 patients were analyzed: 53 (47.7%) received maintenance therapy of extrafine beclomethasone-formoterol (BDP/F) pressurized metered dose inhaler (pMDI), 25 (22.5%) fluticasone-salmeterol (FP/S) dry powder inhaler (DPI), and 33 (29.7%) budesonide-formoterol (BUD/F) DPI. Severity of asthma at time of diagnosis, assessed by the treating physician, was comparable among groups. Asthma control was achieved by 45.9% of patients; 38.7% were partially controlled and 15.3% were uncontrolled. In the extrafine BDF/F group, asthma control total score, daytime symptom score and rescue medication use score were significantly better than those using fixed DPI combinations (5.8 ± 6.2 vs. 8.5 ± 6.8; 1.4 ± 1.8 vs. 2.3 ± 2.1; 1.8 ± 2.2 vs. 2.6 ± 2.2; p = 0.0160; p = 0.012 and p = 0.025, respectively) and the mean daily ICS dose were significantly lower.
Conclusions
pMDI extrafine BDP/F combination demonstrated better asthma control compared to DPIs formulated with larger particles. This could be due to the improved lung deposition of the dose or less reliance on the optimal inhalation technique or both.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-11-40
PMCID: PMC3149024  PMID: 21762500
inhaler; fixed combinations; asthma control; extrafine
13.  Real-life effectiveness of budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy in asthma patients across Asia: SMARTASIA study 
Background
The use of budesonide/formoterol in a single inhaler for both maintenance and reliever therapy is a recommended option for treatment of persistent asthma not responding well to inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) alone.
Methods
This was a multi-centre open-label study on patients whose asthma condition remained inadequately controlled by various asthma treatments other than budesonide/formoterol. After a 2-week run-in period, eligible patients underwent a 12-week treatment period with budesonide/formoterol (Symbicort SMART®, 160/4.5 μg) twice daily plus as needed. Patient’s asthma control and quality of life were assessed using the 5-item Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ-5) and the standardized Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ-S), respectively.
Results
A total of 862 eligible asthma patients who have had asthma for a mean duration of 10.73 ± 12.03 years entered a 12-week treatment with budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy. During treatment, ACQ-5 score improved significantly by 0.58 ± 0.93 (95% CI, 0.51 to 0.64, P < 0.0001) from the baseline level of 1.62 ± 1.00. AQLQ(S) score improved by 0.70 ± 0.89 (95% CI, 0.64 to 0.76, P < 0.0001) from baseline. Asthma symptom score was also reduced significantly (P < 0.0001); between run-in and treatment periods, night- and day-time symptom scores were reduced by 0.32 ± 0.54 (95% CI, 0.28 to 0.35) and 0.30 ± 0.52 (95% CI, 0.27 to 0.34), respectively. The percentage of nights with awakenings due to asthma symptoms was reduced by 11.09 ± 26.13% (95% CI, 9.34 to 12.85%), while the percentage of asthma-control and symptom-free days increased by 20.90 ± 34.40% (95% CI, 18.59 to 23.21%) and 23.89 ± 34.62% (95% CI, 21.56 to 26.21%), respectively (P < 0.0001). Together with the improvement in asthma control, the number of night- and day-time inhalations of as-needed reliever medication decreased by 0.30 ± 0.82 (95% CI, 0.24 to 0.35) inhalations and 0.30 ± 0.97 (95% CI, 0.23 to 0.36) inhalations, respectively (P < 0.0001). No unexpected adverse events were reported.
Conclusion
During treatment of inadequately controlled asthmatic patients with budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy, significant improvement in patients’ asthma control and reductions in asthma symptoms and as-needed medication use was observed. Patients’ quality of life was improved and the treatment was well tolerated.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrial.gov: (NCT00939341)
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-13-22
PMCID: PMC3637584  PMID: 23557023
Asthma management; Asthma control; Budesonide/formoterol; Symbicort maintenance and reliever therapy
14.  Carcinoid Tumor with Localized Bronchiectasis 
Tanaffos  2013;12(2):56-60.
Bronchial carcinoid tumor comprises 1 to 3% of lung neoplasms. The common age of onset is mainly post-puberty although atypical carcinoid tumors occur at ages 44 to 55. Carcinoid tumors cause two groups of symptoms in patients: symptoms due to obstruction and symptoms due to the production and release of active neuropeptides. Histologically, carcinoid tumors are categorized into two groups of typical and atypical while in terms of location of lesion, they are grouped into central and peripheral types. Differentiation between malignant and benign carcinoid tumors is based on presence or absence of metastasis.
Bronchoscopy and endobronchial biopsy are the best diagnostic measures in these patients. Serologic evaluation and assessment of active metabolites in case of liver metastasis also help the diagnosis. Surgical resection is the treatment of choice for this condition.
This report discusses a patient with carcinoid tumor who was receiving bronchodilator treatment for a couple of months because of chronic cough with possible diagnosis of asthma and had received several courses of antibiotic therapy with possible diagnosis of lung infection until he eventually developed bronchiectasis in the right lower lobe.
In patients with chronic pulmonary symptoms especially with localized bronchiectasis, diagnostic bronchoscopy must be included in the diagnostic work-up to rule out intrabronchial lesions.
PMCID: PMC4153246  PMID: 25191464
Carcinoid tumor; Pulmonary neoplasm; Bronchiectasis; Recurrent pneumonia
15.  Montelukast as add-on therapy with inhaled corticosteroids or inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-2-agonists in the management of patients diagnosed with asthma and concurrent allergic rhinitis (the RADAR trial) 
OBJECTIVE:
To evaluate the effectiveness of montelukast as add-on therapy for patients diagnosed with asthma and concurrent allergic rhinitis who remain uncontrolled while receiving inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) monotherapy or ICS/long-acting beta-2-agonist (LABA) therapy in a community practice setting.
DESIGN:
An eight-week, multicentre, open-label, observational study. Patients were 15 years of age or older and, while treated with an ICS or ICS/LABA, had allergic rhinitis and uncontrolled asthma symptoms by at least two criteria as per the Canadian Asthma Consensus Guidelines. The primary outcome measure was the percentage of patients with controlled asthma symptoms after eight weeks of treatment with montelukast 10 mg once daily added to ICS or ICS/LABA therapy.
RESULTS:
In total, 1004 patients participated in the survey phase of the study. Of these patients, 319 continued in the treatment phase and 301 (94.4%) completed the eight-week assessment. At baseline, all patients had uncontrolled asthma symptoms based on the Canadian Asthma Consensus Guidelines; at the eight-week assessment, 229 patients (76.1%) achieved asthma control. According to the Asthma Control Questionnaire (as determined by scores of 0.75 or less), 164 patients (54.7%) achieved well-controlled asthma at week 8. The mean (± SD) Asthma Control Questionnaire score decreased from 2.03±0.80 to 0.92±0.80 (P<0.001) for all patients, representing a clinically significant improvement. A statistically and clinically significant reduction in the overall Mini Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire score was achieved with a decrease from 2.57±1.20 to 1.12±1.00 (–1.45±1.35; P<0.001). Patient and physician satisfaction rates with montelukast add-on therapy were also significantly increased when compared with baseline treatment.
CONCLUSION:
Montelukast add-on therapy is effective for managing asthma and allergic rhinitis symptoms in patients who were previously uncontrolled with ICS or ICS/LABA treatment.
PMCID: PMC3486712  PMID: 19557208
Allergic rhinitis; Asthma; Inhaled corticosteroids; Long-acting beta-2-agonist; Montelukast
16.  Combination formoterol and budesonide as maintenance and reliever therapy versus inhaled steroid maintenance for chronic asthma in adults and children 
Background
Traditionally inhaled treatment for asthma has been considered as preventer and reliever therapy. The combination of formoterol and budesonide in a single inhaler introduces the possibility of using a single inhaler for both prevention and relief of symptoms (single inhaler therapy).
Objectives
The aim of this review is to compare formoterol and corticosteroid in single inhaler for maintenance and relief of symptoms with inhaled corticosteroids for maintenance and a separate reliever inhaler.
Search methods
We last searched the Cochrane Airways Group trials register in September 2008.
Selection criteria
Randomised controlled trials in adults and children with chronic asthma.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently assessed studies for inclusion and extracted the characteristics and results of each study. Authors or manufacturers were asked to supply unpublished data in relation to primary outcomes.
Main results
Five studies on 5,378 adults compared single inhaler therapy with current best practice, and did not show a significant reduction in participants with exacerbations causing hospitalisation (Peto OR 0.59; 95% CI 0.24 to 1.45) or treated with oral steroids (OR 0.83; 95% CI 0.66 to 1.03). Three of these studies on 4281 adults did not show a significant reduction in time to first severe exacerbation needing medical intervention (HR 0.96; 95% CI 0.85 to 1.07). These trials demonstrated a reduction in the mean total daily dose of inhaled corticosteroids with single inhaler therapy (mean reduction ranged from 107 to 267 micrograms/day, but the trial results were not combined due to heterogeneity). The full results from four further studies on 4,600 adults comparing single inhaler therapy with current best practice are awaited.
Three studies including 4,209 adults compared single inhaler therapy with higher dose budesonide maintenance and terbutaline for symptom relief. No significant reduction was found with single inhaler therapy in the risk of patients suffering an asthma exacerbation leading to hospitalisation (Peto OR 0.56; 95% CI 0.28 to 1.09), but fewer patients on single inhaler therapy needed a course of oral corticosteroids (OR 0.54; 95% CI 0.45 to 0.64). These results translate into an eleven month number needed to treat of 14 (95% CI 12 to 18), to prevent one patient being treated with oral corticosteroids for an exacerbation. The run-in for these studies involved withdrawal of long-acting beta2-agonists, and patients were recruited who were symptomatic during run-in.
One study included children (N = 224), in which single inhaler therapy was compared to higher dose budesonide. There was a significant reduction in participants who needed an increase in their inhaled steroids with single inhaler therapy, but there were only two hospitalisations for asthma and no separate data on courses of oral corticosteroids. Less inhaled and oral corticosteroids were used in the single inhaler therapy group and the annual height gain was also 1 cm greater in the single inhaler therapy group, [95% CI 0.3 to 1.7 cm].
There was no significant difference found in fatal or non-fatal serious adverse events for any of the comparisons.
Authors’ conclusions
Single inhaler therapy can reduce the risk of asthma exacerbations needing oral corticosteroids in comparison with fixed dose maintenance inhaled corticosteroids. Guidelines and common best practice suggest the addition of regular long-acting beta2-agonist to inhaled corticosteroids for uncontrolled asthma, and single inhaler therapy has not been demonstrated to significantly reduce exacerbations in comparison with current best practice, although results of five large trials are awaiting full publication. Single inhaler therapy is not currently licensed for children under 18 years of age in the United Kingdom.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007313.pub2
PMCID: PMC4053857  PMID: 19370682
Administration; Inhalation; AdrenalCortexHormones [*administration & dosage]; Anti-Asthmatic Agents [*administration & dosage]; Asthma [*drug therapy]; Bronchodilator Agents [administration & dosage]; Budesonide [*administration & dosage]; Chronic Disease; Drug Therapy; Combination; Ethanolamines [*administration & dosage]; Terbutaline [administration & dosage]; Adult; Child; Humans
17.  Single maintenance and reliever therapy (SMART) of asthma: a critical appraisal 
Thorax  2010;65(8):747-752.
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.
doi:10.1136/thx.2009.128504
PMCID: PMC2975956  PMID: 20581409
Budesonide; formoterol; compliance; asthma control; exacerbation; study design; asthma; asthma guidelines; asthma pharmacology; perception of asthma/breathlessness
18.  A Case of Severe Bronchial Asthma Controlled with Tacrolimus 
Journal of Allergy  2011;2011:479129.
Background. The control of severe bronchial asthma, such as corticosteroid-resistant asthma, is difficult. It is also possible that immunosuppressive agents would be effective for bronchial asthma. Case Summary. A 55-year-old Japanese female presented with severe bronchial asthma controlled with tacrolimus. She had been diagnosed with bronchial asthma during childhood. Her asthma worsened, and a chest radiograph showed atelectasis of the left lung. Bronchoscopy revealed the left main bronchus to be obstructed with viscous sputum consisting of 82% neutrophils and no eosinophils. The atelectasis did not improve with corticosteroid treatment, but was ameliorated by administration of tacrolimus. Discussion. This patient had severe asthma due to neutrophilic inflammation of the airways. Tacrolimus is effective for treating severe asthma, for example, in corticosteroid-resistant cases.
doi:10.1155/2011/479129
PMCID: PMC3095904  PMID: 21603171
19.  Outcomes After Periodic Use of Inhaled Corticosteroids in Children 
Background
Many children with persistent asthma use inhaled corticosteroids on a periodic basis. Clinical trials in adults suggest that periodic use of inhaled corticosteroids may be effective for patients with mild persistent asthma. However, scant information exists on the clinical outcomes of children with asthma who are using inhaled corticosteroids on a periodic basis in real-world settings.
Objective
This prospective cohort study compared clinical outcomes during a 12-month follow-up period between children with persistent asthma whose parents believed that they were supposed to use inhaled steroids either (a) periodically or (b) daily year-round at the start of the period. The clinical outcomes studied were (1) asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits or hospitalizations, (2) uncontrolled asthma based on health care and medication use, and (3) outpatient visits for asthma.
Patients and methods
The study population included children with persistent asthma from two health plans whose parents reported that they were using inhaled corticosteroids during a baseline telephone interview. The interviews collected information on whether the children’s parents believed they were supposed to use inhaled corticosteroids on a periodic or daily basis, as well as baseline asthma symptom status, sociodemographic, and behavioral variables. We used computerized databases to identify clinical events for each child during the 12 months after their baseline interview. Uncontrolled asthma was defined as any asthma-related ED visit or hospitalization, two or more oral steroid prescription fills, or four or more beta-agonists canisters filled during the 12-month period. We compared these outcomes between the periodic versus daily users of inhaled corticosteroids using logistic regression analyses. We conducted both (1) a traditional logistic regression analysis in which we adjusted for selection bias by including covariates such as age, asthma physical status, sociodemographic and behavioral variables, and history of asthma-related health care use during the year before interview and (2) an analysis using propensity scores to more fully adjust for selection bias.
Results
Of a total of 476 children in the study, 55% of parents believed their children were supposed to be using inhaled corticosteroids on a periodic basis and 45% believed their children were supposed to be using them daily year-round based on the baseline parent interview. At baseline, periodic inhaled corticosteroid users had less severe asthma than daily users based on several measures including better asthma physical status scores on the Children’s Health Survey for Asthma (mean 87 ± 16.0 vs. 81 ± 17.4, p = < 0.0001). During the year before the baseline interview, periodic users compared with daily users were less likely to have an ED visit or hospitalization (10% vs. 23%, p = 0.0001) and less likely to have had five or more albuterol prescription fills (13% vs. 31%, p < 0.0001). During the follow-up year, those who believed inhaled steroids were for periodic use were less likely than those who believed inhaled steroids were for daily use to have an ED visit or hospitalization for asthma (OR 0.36, 95% CI: 0.18–0.73), even after adjusting for baseline asthma status and other covariates. Similarly, those who believed inhaled steroids were for periodic use were less likely to have uncontrolled asthma, OR 0.38 (95% CI: 0.24–0.62). Analyses using propensity score adjustment yielded similar results to the logistic regression analyses.
Conclusion
Children whose parents believed they were supposed to use inhaled corticosteroids on a periodic basis had less severe asthma at baseline than those whose parents believed they were supposed to be using them daily. Periodic users were less likely than daily users to have adverse asthma outcomes during 1-year follow-up. This suggests that clinicians may be applying appropriate selection criteria by choosing patients with less severe asthma for periodic inhaled corticosteroid regimens.
doi:10.1080/02770900802468517
PMCID: PMC4004094  PMID: 19544175
asthma; periodic inhaled corticosteroids; children
20.  1-year prospective real life monitoring of asthma control and quality of life in Italy 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):112.
Objectives
The study aimed at prospectively evaluating the evolution of asthma control in Italy, to evaluate the reasons for lack of asthma control, perceived quality of life (QoL) and association with level of asthma control, the impact of pharmacological treatment, the number of exacerbations and the healthcare resource consumption.
Methods
PRISMA (PRospectIve Study on asthMA control) was an observational study performed in asthmatic patients including a cross-sectional phase and a 12-month prospective phase. Asthma control was assessed with the Asthma Control Test™ (ACT) and QoL was evaluated with EuroQoL-5D questionnaire filled in and collected during 5 clinic visits together with all the other data.
Results
The prospective phase included 1017 patients with uncontrolled (55.7%) or partly controlled asthma (44.3%). Out of the 739 patients evaluable after 12 months, 22.2% achieved full asthma control (ACT score = 25) and 58.7% reached a good control (ACT score: 20–24). The improvement in asthma control was associated with improved QoL and reduced hospital visits. The main reasons for lack of asthma control were comorbidities, continued exposure to irritants/triggers and poor adherence to therapy. The frequency of exacerbations was lower in patients with controlled asthma.
A fixed combination therapy with an inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting β2 agonist was reported by 77.0% of patients. A better asthma control and improved QoL were achieved with extrafine beclomethasone/formoterol compared to either budesonide/formoterol or fluticasone/salmeterol.
Conclusions
An improvement in asthma control and QoL can be achieved during a 1-year monitoring in a real life setting. Extrafine beclomethasone/formoterol was associated with significant benefit in terms of asthma control and QoL compared to large-particles combinations.
ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT01110460.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-13-112
PMCID: PMC3546892  PMID: 23216798
21.  Fixed airflow obstruction in asthma: a descriptive study of patient profiles and effect on treatment responses 
The Journal of Asthma  2014;51(6):603-609.
Background
The role of fixed airflow obstruction (FAO) in asthma is unclear. Objective: To assess the relationship between FAO and clinical features of asthma and the effect of FAO on treatment response. Methods: Post hoc descriptive analysis of data stratified by FAO category (screening post-albuterol FEV1/FVC
doi:10.3109/02770903.2014.895012
PMCID: PMC4162502  PMID: 24524222
Airflow limitation; airway inflammation; budesonide; combination therapy; formoterol; inhaled corticosteroid; lung function
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):66.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT00272753
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-66
PMCID: PMC2890647  PMID: 20509942
OBJECTIVE:
To evaluate the effectiveness of montelukast as monotherapy for patients with mild asthma who remain uncontrolled or unsatisfied while on inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) monotherapy.
DESIGN:
A multicentre, open-label study. Patients (six years of age or older) had ICS therapy discontinued and were treated with orally administered montelukast once daily for six weeks.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
The primary outcome measure was the rate at which asthma symptom control was achieved or maintained after six weeks of treatment. The secondary outcome measures were to compare compliance and physician satisfaction, and to further assess the safety and tolerability of montelukast.
RESULTS:
Of the 534 patients enrolled, 481 (90.1%) completed the study. Mean (± SD) age was 27.8±19.0 years. The number of patients with uncontrolled symptoms decreased from 455 (85.2%) at baseline to 143 (26.8%) at week 6 (P<0.001), and mean Asthma Control Questionnaire score decreased from 1.4±0.8 to 0.6±0.6 (P<0.001), representing a clinically significant improvement. Of the 79 patients with controlled asthma symptoms at baseline, 73.4% maintained asthma control at week 6. Compliance to asthma therapy increased from 41% at baseline for ICS to 88% at week 6 for montelukast (P<0.001). Physician satisfaction with treatment increased from 43% to 85% (P<0.001) and patient satisfaction increased from 45% at baseline to 94% at week 6. No serious adverse events were reported over the course of the study.
CONCLUSION:
Montelukast is an effective and well-tolerated alternative to ICS treatment in patients with mild asthma who are uncontrolled or unsatisfied with low-dose ICS therapy.
PMCID: PMC3486709  PMID: 19557207
Adherence; Allergic rhinitis; Asthma; Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS); Montelukast
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.
PMCID: PMC3048599  PMID: 21437145
budesonide/formoterol; fluticasone/salmeterol; adherence; onset of effect; patient satisfaction
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.
doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2007.01338.x
PMCID: PMC1920547  PMID: 17362472

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