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1.  The bioavailability and airway clearance of the steroid component of budesonide/formoterol and salmeterol/fluticasone after inhaled administration in patients with COPD and healthy subjects: a randomized controlled trial 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):104.
Background
Airway absorption and bioavailability of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) may be influenced by differences in pharmacokinetic properties such as lipophilicity and patient characteristics such as lung function. This study aimed to further investigate and clarify the distribution of budesonide and fluticasone in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by measuring the systemic availability and sputum concentration of budesonide and fluticasone, administered via combination inhalers with the respective long-acting β2-agonists, formoterol and salmeterol.
Methods
This was a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, two-way crossover, multicenter study. Following a run-in period, 28 patients with severe COPD (mean age 65 years, mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] 37.5% predicted normal) and 27 healthy subjects (mean age 31 years, FEV1 103.3% predicted normal) received two single-dose treatments of budesonide/formoterol (400/12 μg) and salmeterol/fluticasone (50/500 μg), separated by a 4–14-day washout period. ICS concentrations were measured over 10 hours post-inhalation in plasma in all subjects, and over 6 hours in spontaneously expectorated sputum in COPD patients. The primary end point was the area under the curve (AUC) of budesonide and fluticasone plasma concentrations in COPD patients relative to healthy subjects.
Results
Mean plasma AUC values were lower in COPD patients versus healthy subjects for budesonide (3.07 μM·hr versus 6.21 μM·hr) and fluticasone (0.84 μM·hr versus 1.50 μM·hr), and the dose-adjusted AUC (geometric mean) ratios in healthy subjects and patients with severe COPD for plasma budesonide and fluticasone were similar (2.02 versus 1.80; primary end point). In COPD patients, the Tmax and the mean residence time in the systemic circulation were shorter for budesonide versus fluticasone (15.5 min versus 50.8 min and 4.41 hrs versus 12.78 hrs, respectively) and Cmax was higher (1.08 μM versus 0.09 μM). The amount of expectorated fluticasone (percentage of estimated lung-deposited dose) in sputum over 6 hours was significantly higher versus budesonide (ratio 5.21; p = 0.006). Both treatments were well tolerated.
Conclusion
The relative systemic availabilities of budesonide and fluticasone between patients with severe COPD and healthy subjects were similar. In patients with COPD, a larger fraction of fluticasone was expectorated in the sputum as compared with budesonide.
Trial registration
Trial registration number NCT00379028
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-10-104
PMCID: PMC2780403  PMID: 19878590
2.  Comparative adrenal suppression with inhaled budesonide and fluticasone propionate in adult asthmatic patients. 
Thorax  1996;51(3):262-266.
BACKGROUND: A study was performed to compare the adrenal suppression caused by inhaled fluticasone propionate and budesonide on a microgram equivalent basis, each given by metered dose inhaler to asthmatic patients. METHODS: Twelve asthmatic patients of mean age 29.9 years, with a forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) 92.9% predicted and forced expiratory flow 25-75% (FEF25-75) 69.5% predicted, on less than or equal to 400 micrograms/day inhaled corticosteroid, were studied in a double blind placebo controlled crossover design comparing single doses of inhaled budesonide 400, 1000, 1600, 2000 micrograms and fluticasone propionate 500, 1000, 1500, 2000 micrograms. Doses were administered at 22.00 hours by metered dose inhaler with mouth rinsing and measurements were made in the laboratory 10 hours later. RESULTS: Serum cortisol levels compared with placebo (mean 325.2 nmol/l) were suppressed by fluticasone at doses of 1500 micrograms (211.6 nmol/l) and 2000 micrograms (112.3 nmol/l) and by budesonide at 2000 micrograms (243.4 nmol/l). Fluticasone propionate 2000 micrograms produced lower absolute serum cortisol levels than budesonide 2000 micrograms (95% CI for difference 42.9 to 219.2). The dose ratio (geometric mean) for the relative potency was 2.89 fold (95% CI 1.19 to 7.07). In terms of percentage suppression versus placebo, fluticasone propionate also produced greater effects (means and 95% CI for difference): budesonide 1600 micrograms (16.0) versus fluticasone propionate 1500 micrograms (40.9) (95% CI -0.6 to 50.6), budesonide 2000 micrograms (26.0) versus fluticasone 2000 micrograms (65.2) (95% CI 10.5 to 67.8). Individual serum cortisol levels at the two highest doses showed 15 of 24 patients below the normal limit of the reference range (150 nmol/l) for fluticasone and five of 24 for budesonide. Fluticasone propionate also caused greater ACTH suppression than budesonide (as % versus placebo): budesonide 1600 micrograms (12.0) versus fluticasone propionate 1500 micrograms (31.9) (95% CI 7.6 to 32.1), budesonide 2000 micrograms (13.5) versus fluticasone propionate 2000 micrograms (44.4) (95% CI 13.2 to 48.7). For overnight 10 hour urinary cortisol (nmol/10 hours) there was a difference between the lowest doses of the two drugs: budesonide 400 micrograms (37.2) versus fluticasone propionate 500 micrograms (19.9) (95% CI 6.9 to 27.8). CONCLUSIONS: Like budesonide the systemic bioactivity of fluticasone propionate is mainly due to lung vascular absorption. Fluticasone propionate exhibited at least twofold greater adrenal suppression than budesonide on a microgram equivalent basis in asthmatic patients.
PMCID: PMC1090636  PMID: 8779128
3.  Adrenal suppression with chronic dosing of fluticasone propionate compared with budesonide in adult asthmatic patients 
Thorax  1997;52(1):55-58.
BACKGROUND: In a previous single dosing comparison between fluticasone propionate and budesonide differences in cortisol levels measured at 08.00 hours were observed at doses in excess of 1000 micrograms. The aim of this study was to compare the adrenal suppression caused by chronic twice daily dosing with inhaled fluticasone propionate (FP) and budesonide (B) given on a microgram equivalent basis by metered dose inhaler to asthmatic patients. METHODS: Twelve stable asthmatic patients of mean age 29.7 years with forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) 89.0% predicted and mid forced expiratory flow (FEF25-75) 58.9% predicted, on 400 micrograms/day or less of inhaled corticosteroid, were studied in a double blind, placebo controlled, crossover design comparing inhaled budesonide and fluticasone propionate in doses of 250 micrograms, 500 micrograms, and 1000 micrograms twice daily. Each dose was given at 08.00 hours and 22.00 hours for four days by metered dose inhaler with mouth rinsing. Measurements were made of overnight urinary cortisol excretion and plasma cortisol levels at 08.00 hours, 10 hours after the eighth dose. RESULTS: The plasma cortisol levels (nmol/ l) at 08.00 hours showed that fluticasone propionate produced lower cortisol levels than budesonide at all three dose levels: F500 333.8, B500 415.2 (95% CI 28.9 to 134.0); F1000 308.3, B1000 380.3 (95% CI 10.5 to 133.5); F2000 207.3, B2000 318.5 (95% CI 5.8 to 216.7); placebo 399.9. Fluticasone produced greater effects than budesonide on the overnight urinary cortisol/creatinine ratio (nmol/mmol) at all three dose levels: F500 3.12, B500 5.55 (95% CI 0.16 to 3.79); F1000 2.54, B1000 6.12 (95% CI 1.25 to 5.91); F2000 2.07, B2000 6.09 (95% CI 0.88 to 7.18); placebo 5.23. CONCLUSIONS: With repeated dosing across a dose range of 250-1000 micrograms twice daily, fluticasone propionate produced significantly greater adrenal suppression than budesonide for both plasma and urinary cortisol. It was therefore possible to demonstrate differences between fluticasone and budesonide at lower doses with chronic dosing from those previously found with single dosing when given on a microgram equivalent basis in asthmatic patients. Factors contributing to the systemic adverse activity profile of fluticasone comprise enhanced receptor potency, prolonged receptor residency time, greater tissue retention, and a longer elimination half life. 



PMCID: PMC1758411  PMID: 9039246
4.  Adrenocortical activity with repeated twice daily dosing of fluticasone propionate and budesonide given via a large volume spacer to asthmatic school children 
Thorax  1997;52(8):686-689.
BACKGROUND: In a previous single dosing study in asthmatic school children fluticasone propionate produced significantly greater suppression of overnight urinary cortisol excretion than budesonide at high doses of 800 micrograms/day or greater. The aim of this study was to assess whether conventional lower doses of both drugs cause adrenal suppression when given at steady state twice daily by large volume spacer on a microgram equivalent basis in asthmatic school children. METHODS: Eight school children of mean age 12.1 years with stable asthma of mild to moderate severity (forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) 78.6% predicted, mid forced expiratory flow rate (FEF25- 75) 72.5% predicted), on 400 micrograms/day or less of inhaled corticosteroid, were studied in a single blind (investigator blind), placebo controlled, crossover design comparing inhaled budesonide and fluticasone propionate 100 micrograms bid and 200 micrograms bid. Each dose was given at 08.00 hours and 20.00 hours for four days by metered dose inhaler via their respective large volume spacers with mouth rinsing. Measurements were made of overnight urinary cortisol and creatinine excretion after the eighth dose. RESULTS: Neither drug produced significant suppression of overnight urinary cortisol or cortisol/creatinine excretion compared with pooled placebo and there were no differences between the drugs. Only one subject with each drug at 200 micrograms twice daily had abnormally low urinary cortisol excretion of < 10 nmol/12 hours. Ratios for the fold difference between active treatment versus placebo for urinary cortisol excretion were (as means and 95% confidence intervals for difference): budesonide 100 micrograms b.i.d 1.03 (95% CI 0.46 to 1.61), budesonide 200 micrograms b.i.d 1.04 (95% CI 0.62 to 1.46); fluticasone 100 micrograms b.i.d 1.11 (0.45 to 1.77), fluticasone 200 micrograms b.i.d 1.12 (0.78 to 1.47). Likewise, there were no significant differences in overnight urinary cortisol/creatinine excretion. CONCLUSIONS: With repeated twice daily administration at steady state across a dose range of 200-400 micrograms/day no evidence of significant adrenal suppression was found using the sensitive marker of overnight urinary cortisol excretion for either fluticasone propionate or budesonide given via a large volume spacer. These results emphasise the good safety profile in children of these inhaled steroids at conventional dose levels, which have proven antiasthmatic efficacy. 



PMCID: PMC1758624  PMID: 9337826
5.  Pneumonia and pneumonia related mortality in patients with COPD treated with fixed combinations of inhaled corticosteroid and long acting β2 agonist: observational matched cohort study (PATHOS) 
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.
doi:10.1136/bmj.f3306
PMCID: PMC3666306  PMID: 23719639
6.  The Relationship Between Fluticasone Furoate Systemic Exposure and Cortisol Suppression 
Clinical Pharmacokinetics  2013;52(10):885-896.
Introduction
The inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) fluticasone furoate is in development, in combination with the long-acting beta2-agonist vilanterol for the once-daily treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and as a monotherapy treatment for asthma. Corticosteroids, including ICSs, have the potential to induce dose-dependent systemic effects on the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. Cortisol suppression has been observed in asthma patients with normal HPA axis function at baseline on receiving high doses of ICSs, and is associated with adverse effects on a number of physiological processes. The measurement of 24-h serum cortisol and 24-h urinary cortisol excretion are sensitive methods for assessing adrenocortical activity, and can evaluate cortisol suppression in a dose-dependent manner.
Objective
The purpose of the meta-analysis presented here was to characterize the population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic relationship between fluticasone furoate systemic exposure [as measured by area under the concentration–time curve over 24 h postdose (AUC24)] and both 24-h weighted mean serum cortisol (WM24) and 24-h urine cortisol excretion in healthy subjects and subjects with asthma.
Methods
The serum cortisol meta-analysis integrated eight studies; five Phase I studies in healthy subjects, two Phase IIa studies, and one Phase III study in subjects with asthma. Each study included serial blood sampling for estimation of WM24. The urine cortisol meta-analysis integrated three studies: one Phase I study in healthy subjects, and one Phase IIb and one Phase III study in subjects with asthma. Each study included complete 0–24 h urine collection for estimation of urine cortisol excretion. All studies included blood sampling for estimation of fluticasone furoate AUC24. A sigmoid maximum effect (Emax) model was fitted to fluticasone furoate AUC24 and serum cortisol and urine cortisol data using nonlinear mixed-effect modeling with the computer program NONMEM®.
Results
Over a wide range of systemic fluticasone furoate exposure representing the therapeutic and supratherapeutic range, the relationship between fluticasone furoate AUC24 and WM24 and 24-h urine cortisol excretion was well described by an Emax model. The average estimate of AUC producing 50 % of maximum effect (AUC50) was similar for the serum cortisol and urine cortisol models with values of 1,556 and 1,686 pg·h/mL, respectively. Although formulation/inhaler was shown to be a significant covariate on the estimates of both WM24 at zero concentration (C0) and AUC50 in the serum cortisol model, the differences were small and believed to be due to study variability. Age was shown to be a significant covariate on the estimates of both C0 and AUC50 in the urine cortisol model, and was considered to be a reflection of lower urine cortisol excretion in adolescents.
Conclusion
A pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model has been established over a wide range of systemic fluticasone furoate exposure representing the therapeutic and supratherapeutic range to both WM24 and 24-h urine cortisol excretion. The values of AUC50 of 1,556 and 1,686 pg·h/mL, respectively, are several times higher than average fluticasone furoate AUC24 values observed at clinical doses of fluticasone furoate (≤200 μg). The models predict a fluticasone furoate AUC24 of 1,000 pg·h/mL would be required to reduce 24-h serum cortisol or 24-h urine cortisol excretion by 20 and 17 %, respectively.
doi:10.1007/s40262-013-0078-1
PMCID: PMC3779313  PMID: 23719680
7.  Regular treatment with formoterol and an inhaled corticosteroid versus regular treatment with salmeterol and an inhaled corticosteroid for chronic asthma: serious adverse events 
Background
An increase in serious adverse events with the use of both regular formoterol and regular salmeterol (long-acting beta2-agonists) in chronic asthma has been demonstrated in comparison with placebo in previous Cochrane reviews. This increase was significant in trials that did not randomise participants to an inhaled corticosteroid. However, systematic reviews of trials in which each drug was randomised with an inhaled corticosteroid did not demonstrate significant increases in serious adverse events. The confidence intervals were found to be too wide to be sure that the addition of an inhaled corticosteroid renders regular long-acting beta2-agonists completely safe; there were fewer participants and insufficient serious adverse events in these trials to come to a definitive decision about the safety of combination treatments.
Objectives
We set out to compare the risks of mortality and non-fatal serious adverse events in trials which have randomised patients with chronic asthma to regular formoterol versus regular salmeterol, when each are used with an inhaled corticosteroid as part of the randomised treatment.
Search methods
We identified trials using the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register of trials. We checked manufacturers’ websites of clinical trial registers for unpublished trial data and also checked Food and Drug Administration (FDA) submissions in relation to formoterol and salmeterol. The date of the most recent search was August 2011.
Selection criteria
We included controlled clinical trials with a parallel design, recruiting patients of any age and severity of asthma, if they randomised patients to treatment with regular formoterol versus regular salmeterol (each with a randomised inhaled corticosteroid) and were of at least 12 weeks duration.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently selected trials for inclusion in the review and extracted outcome data. We sought unpublished data on mortality and serious adverse events from the sponsors and authors.
Main results
Ten studies on 6769 adults and adolescents met the eligibility criteria of the review. Seven studies (involving 5935 adults and adolescents) compared formoterol and budesonide to salmeterol and fluticasone. All but one study administered the products as a combined inhaler, and most used formoterol 12 μg and budesonide 400 μg twice daily versus salmeterol 50 μg and fluticasone 250 μg twice daily. There were two deaths overall (one on each combination) and neither were thought to be related to asthma.
There was no significant difference between treatment groups (formoterol/budesonide versus salmeterol/fluticasone) for non-fatal serious adverse events, either all-cause (Peto odds ratio (OR) 1.14; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.82 to 1.59, I2 = 26%) or asthma-related (Peto OR 0.69; 95% CI 0.37 to 1.26, I2 = 33%). Over 23 weeks the rates for all-cause serious adverse events were 2.6% on formoterol and budesonide and 2.3% on salmeterol and fluticasone, and for asthma-related serious adverse events, 0.6% and 0.8% respectively.
There was one study (228 adults) comparing formoterol and beclomethasone to salmeterol and fluticasone, but there were no deaths or hospital admissions. One study (404 adults) compared formoterol and mometasone to salmeterol and fluticasone for 52 weeks, but the small number of events leaves considerable uncertainty about the comparative safety of the two products. Similarly one study (202 adults) compared formoterol and fluticasone with salmeterol and fluticasone, but there was only one serious adverse event in each group.
No studies were found in children.
Authors’ conclusions
The seven identified studies in adults did not show any significant difference in safety between formoterol and budesonide in comparison with salmeterol and fluticasone. Asthma-related serious adverse events were rare, and there were no reported asthma-related deaths. There was a single, small study comparing formoterol and beclomethasone to salmeterol and fluticasone in adults, a single study comparing formoterol and mometasone with salmeterol and fluticasone in adults, and a single study comparing formoterol and fluticasone with salmeterol and fluticasone in adults.
No studies were found in children, so no conclusion can be drawn for this age group.
Overall there is insufficient evidence to decide whether regular formoterol in combination with budesonide, beclometasone, fluticasone or mometasone have equivalent or different safety profiles from salmeterol in combination with fluticasone.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007694.pub2
PMCID: PMC4015852  PMID: 20091646
Administration, Inhalation; Albuterol [administration & dosage; adverse effects; *analogs & derivatives]; Androstadienes [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Anti-Asthmatic Agents [administration & dosage; *adverse effects]; Asthma [*drug therapy; mortality]; Budesonide [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Drug Therapy, Combination [adverse effects]; Ethanolamines [administration & dosage; *adverse effects]; Glucocorticoids [administration & dosage; *adverse effects]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Adolescent; Adult; Humans
8.  Efficacy and Tolerability of Budesonide/Formoterol in One Hydrofluoroalkane Pressurized Metered-Dose Inhaler in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Drugs  2012;69(5):549-565.
Background: Combination therapy with a long-acting bronchodilator and an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) is recommended in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who have frequent exacerbations. The efficacy and tolerability of the combination of budesonide/formoterol have been demonstrated in patients with COPD when administered via the dry powder inhaler (DPI) in a 1-year study and when administered via the hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI) in a 6-month study.
Objective: This study assessed the long-term efficacy and tolerability of budesonide/formoterol HFA pMDI in patients with moderate to very severe COPD.
Methods: This was a 12-month, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel-group, active- and placebo-controlled, multicentre study (NCT00206167) of 1964 patients aged ≥40 years with moderate to very severe COPD conducted from 2005 to 2007 at 237 sites in the US, Europe and Mexico. After 2 weeks of treatment based on previous therapy (ICSs, short-acting bronchodilators allowed), patients received one of the following treatments twice daily: budesonide/formoterol pMDI 160/4.5 μg × two inhalations (320/9 μg); budesonide/formoterol pMDI 80/4.5 μg × two inhalations (160/9 μg); formoterol DPI 4.5 μg × two inhalations (9 μg); or placebo.
Main outcome measures: The co-primary efficacy variables were pre-dose forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and 1-hour post-dose FEV1.
Results: Budesonide/formoterol 320/9 μg demonstrated greater improvements in pre-dose FEV1 versus formoterol (p = 0.008), and both budesonide/formoterol doses demonstrated greater improvements in 1-hour post-dose FEV1 versus placebo (p < 0.001). The rate of COPD exacerbations was lower in both budesonide/formoterol groups compared with formoterol and placebo (p ≤ 0.004). Both budesonide/formoterol doses were more effective than placebo (p ≤ 0.006) for controlling dyspnoea and improving health status (St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire). All treatments were generally well tolerated. The incidence of pneumonia was not different for active (3.4–4.0%) and placebo (5.0%) groups.
Conclusions: Budesonide/formoterol pMDI (320/9 μg and 160/9 μg) improved pulmonary function and reduced symptoms and exacerbations over 1 year in patients with moderate to very severe COPD. Only budesonide/formoterol pMDI 320/9 μg demonstrated greater efficacy for both co-primary variables compared with formoterol DPI 9 μg. Both budesonide/formoterol pMDI dosages were well tolerated relative to formoterol and placebo.
Electronic Supplementary Material
Supplementary material is available for this article at 10.2165/00003495-200969050-00004 and is accessible for authorized users.
doi:10.2165/00003495-200969050-00004
PMCID: PMC3580134  PMID: 19368417
9.  Combined corticosteroid and long-acting beta2-agonist in one inhaler versus long-acting beta2-agonists for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Background
Both inhaled steroids (ICS) and long-acting beta2-agonists (LABA) are used in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This updated review compared compound LABA plus ICS therapy (LABA/ICS) with the LABA component drug given alone.
Objectives
To assess the efficacy of ICS and LABA in a single inhaler with mono-component LABA alone in adults with COPD.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register of trials. The date of the most recent search was November 2011.
Selection criteria
We included randomised, double-blind controlled trials. We included trials comparing compound ICS and LABA preparations with their component LABA preparations in people with COPD.
Data collection and analysis
Two authors independently assessed study risk of bias and extracted data. The primary outcomes were exacerbations, mortality and pneumonia, while secondary outcomes were health-related quality of life (measured by validated scales), lung function, withdrawals due to lack of efficacy, withdrawals due to adverse events and side-effects. Dichotomous data were analysed as random-effects model odds ratios or rate ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and continuous data as mean differences and 95% CIs. We rated the quality of evidence for exacerbations, mortality and pneumonia according to recommendations made by the GRADE working group.
Main results
Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria, randomising 11,794 people with severe COPD. We looked at any LABA plus ICS inhaler (LABA/ICS) versus the same LABA component alone, and then we looked at the 10 studies which assessed fluticasone plus salmeterol (FPS) and the four studies assessing budesonide plus formoterol (BDF) separately. The studies were well-designed with low risk of bias for randomisation and blinding but they had high rates of attrition, which reduced our confidence in the results for outcomes other than mortality.
Primary outcomes
There was low quality evidence that exacerbation rates in people using LABA/ICS inhalers were lower in comparison to those with LABA alone, from nine studies which randomised 9921 participants (rate ratio 0.76; 95% CI 0.68 to 0.84). This corresponds to one exacerbation per person per year on LABA and 0.76 exacerbations per person per year on ICS/LABA. Our confidence in this effect was limited by statistical heterogeneity between the results of the studies (I2 = 68%) and a risk of bias from the high withdrawal rates across the studies. When analysed as the number of people experiencing one or more exacerbations over the course of the study, FPS lowered the odds of an exacerbation with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.83 (95% CI 0.70 to 0.98, 6 studies, 3357 participants). With a risk of an exacerbation of 47% in the LABA group over one year, 42% of people treated with LABA/ICS would be expected to experience an exacerbation. Concerns over the effect of reporting biases led us to downgrade the quality of evidence for this effect from high to moderate.
There was no significant difference in the rate of hospitalisations (rate ratio 0.79; 95% CI 0.55 to 1.13, very low quality evidence due to risk of bias, statistical imprecision and inconsistency). There was no significant difference in mortality between people on combined inhalers and those on LABA, from 10 studies on 10,680 participants (OR 0.92; 95% CI 0.76 to 1.11, downgraded to moderate quality evidence due to statistical imprecision). Pneumonia occurred more commonly in people randomised to combined inhalers, from 12 studies with 11,076 participants (OR 1.55; 95% CI 1.20 to 2.01, moderate quality evidence due to risk of bias in relation to attrition) with an annual risk of around 3% on LABA alone compared to 4% on combination treatment. There were no significant differences between the results for either exacerbations or pneumonia from trials adding different doses or types of inhaled corticosteroid.
Secondary outcomes
ICS/LABA was more effective than LABA alone in improving health-related quality of life measured by the St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (1.58 units lower with FPS; 2.69 units lower with BDF), dyspnoea (0.09 units lower with FPS), symptoms (0.07 units lower with BDF), rescue medication (0.38 puffs per day fewer with FPS, 0.33 puffs per day fewer with BDF), and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (70 mL higher with FPS, 50 mL higher with BDF). Candidiasis (OR 3.75) and upper respiratory infection (OR 1.32) occurred more frequently with FPS than SAL. We did not combine adverse event data relating to candidiasis for BDF studies as the results were very inconsistent.
Authors’ conclusions
Concerns over the analysis and availability of data from the studies bring into question the superiority of ICS/LABA over LABA alone in preventing exacerbations. The effects on hospitalisations were inconsistent and require further exploration. There was moderate quality evidence of an increased risk of pneumonia with ICS/LABA. There was moderate quality evidence that treatments had similar effects on mortality. Quality of life, symptoms score, rescue medication use and FEV1 improved more on ICS/LABA than on LABA, but the average differences were probably not clinically significant for these outcomes. To an individual patient the increased risk of pneumonia needs to be balanced against the possible reduction in exacerbations.
More information would be useful on the relative benefits and adverse event rates with combination inhalers using different doses of inhaled corticosteroids. Evidence from head-to-head comparisons is needed to assess the comparative risks and benefits of the different combination inhalers.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006829.pub2
PMCID: PMC4170910  PMID: 22972099
Adrenal Cortex Hormones [*administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Adrenergic beta-Agonists [*administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Albuterol [administration & dosage; adverse effects; analogs & derivatives]; Androstadienes [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Bronchodilator Agents [*administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Budesonide [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Drug Combinations; Drug Therapy, Combination [methods]; Ethanolamines [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Nebulizers and Vaporizers; Pneumonia [chemically induced]; Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive [*drug therapy; mortality]; Quality of Life; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Adult; Humans
10.  Outcomes and costs of treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with inhaled fixed combinations: the Italian perspective of the PATHOS study 
Purpose
Fixed-dose combinations of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting β2-agonists have proven to prevent and reduce chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations. The aim of this analysis was to explore the clinical consequences and direct health care costs of applying the findings of the PATHOS (An Investigation of the Past 10 Years Health Care for Primary Care Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) study to the Italian context.
Patients and methods
Effectiveness data from the PATHOS study, a population-based, retrospective, observational registry study conducted in Sweden, in terms of reduction in COPD and pneumonia-related hospitalizations, were considered, in order to estimate the differences in resource consumption between patients treated with budesonide/formoterol and fluticasone/salmeterol. The base case considers the average dosages of the two drugs reported in the PATHOS study and the actual public price in charges to the Italian National Health Service, while the difference in hospitalization rates reported in the PATHOS study was costed based on Italian real-world data.
Results
The PATHOS study demonstrated a significant reduction in COPD hospitalizations and pneumonia-related hospitalizations in patients treated with budesonide/formoterol versus fluticasone/salmeterol (−29.1% and −42%, respectively). In the base case, the treatment of a patient for 1 year with budesonide/formoterol led to a saving of €499.90 (€195.10 for drugs, €193.10 for COPD hospitalizations, and €111.70 for pneumonia hospitalizations) corresponding to a −27.6% difference compared with fluticasone/salmeterol treatment.
Conclusion
Treatment of COPD with budesonide/formoterol compared with fluticasone/salmeterol could lead to a reduction in direct health care costs, with relevant improvement in clinical outcomes.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S65693
PMCID: PMC4051514  PMID: 24940053
disease management; pharmacoeconomics; direct health care costs; hospitalizations
11.  Effect of budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy on asthma exacerbations 
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
12.  Adrenal suppression with inhaled budesonide and fluticasone propionate given by large volume spacer to asthmatic children. 
Thorax  1996;51(9):941-943.
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to compare the systemic bioactivity of inhaled budesonide (B) and fluticasone propionate (F), each given by large volume spacer, on a microgram equivalent basis in asthmatic children. METHODS: Ten stable asthmatic children of mean age 11 years and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) 81.6% predicted, who were receiving treatment with < or = 400 micrograms/day of inhaled corticosteroid, were studied in a placebo controlled single blind (investigator blind) randomised crossover design comparing single doses of inhaled budesonide and fluticasone propionate 400 micrograms, 800 micrograms, and 1250 micrograms. Doses were given at 20.00 hours with mouth rinsing and an overnight 12 hour urine sample was collected for estimation of free cortisol and creatinine excretion. RESULTS: The results of overnight 12 hour urinary cortisol output (nmol/12 hours) showed suppression with all doses of fluticasone propionate (as geometric means): F400 micrograms (11.99), F800 micrograms (6.49), F1250 micrograms (7.00) compared with placebo (24.43), whereas budesonide caused no suppression at any dose. A comparison of the drugs showed that there were differences at 800 micrograms and 1250 micrograms levels for urinary cortisol: B800 micrograms versus F800 micrograms (2.65-fold, 95% CI 1.26 to 5.58), B1250 micrograms versus F1250 micrograms (2.94-fold, 95% CI 1.67 to 5.15). The results for the cortisol/creatinine ratio were similar to that of urinary cortisol, with fluticasone causing suppression at all doses and with differences between the drugs at 800 micrograms and 1250 micrograms. CONCLUSIONS: Single doses of inhaled fluticasone produce greater systemic bioactivity than budesonide when given by large volume spacer on a microgram equivalent basis in asthmatic children. The systemic bioactivity of fluticasone, like budesonide, is due mainly to lung bioavailability.
PMCID: PMC472620  PMID: 8984708
13.  Evaluation of the buccal component of systemic absorption with inhaled fluticasone propionate 
Thorax  1999;54(7):614-617.
BACKGROUND—Inhaled corticosteroids have dose related systemic effects determined by oral (swallowed or oropharyngeal absorption) and lung bioavailability. A study was undertaken to evaluate the significance of oropharyngeal absorption for fluticasone propionate.
METHODS—Sixteen healthy volunteers of mean age 29.3 years were studied using an open randomised, placebo controlled, four way crossover design. Treatments were: (a) fluticasone metered dose inhaler (pMDI) 250 µg, 8 puffs; (b) fluticasone pMDI 250 µg, 8 puffs +mouth rinsing/gargling (water); (c) fluticasone pMDI 250 µg, 8puffs + mouth rinsing/gargling (charcoal); and (d) placebo pMDI, 8 puffs + mouth rinsing/gargling (water). Overnight (ONUC) and early morning (EMUC) urinary cortisol/creatinine ratios and 8am serum cortisol (SC) levels were measured.
RESULTS—Significant (p<0.05) suppression of ONUC, EMUC, and SC occurred with each active treatment compared with placebo. The mean values (95% CI for difference from placebo) were: (a) ONUC (nmol/mmol): fluticasone (2.8, 95% CI 3.6 to 7.9), fluticasone + water (3.1,95% CI 3.3 to 7.7), fluticasone + charcoal (2.3, 95% CI 4.1 to 8.5); placebo (8.6); (b) EMUC (nmol/mmol): fluticasone (5.6, 95% CI 8.4 to 24.5), fluticasone + water (7.6, 95% CI 6.6 to 22.4); fluticasone + charcoal (5.6, 95% CI 8.7 to 24.5); placebo (22.1). There were no significant differences between active treatments. The numbers of subjects with an overnight urinary cortisol of <20 nmol/10 hours were 0 (placebo), 11 (fluticasone), 12 (fluticasone+ water), and 13 (fluticasone +charcoal).
CONCLUSIONS—Oropharyngeal absorption of fluticasone does not significantly contribute to its overall systemic bioactivity as assessed by sensitive measures of adrenal suppression. In view of almost complete hepatic first pass inactivation with fluticasone, there is no rationale to employ mouth rinsing to reduce its systemic effects although it may be of value for reducing oral candidiasis.


PMCID: PMC1745527  PMID: 10377207
14.  Combined corticosteroid and long-acting beta-agonist in one inhaler versus placebo for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Background
Long-acting beta-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids have both been recommended in guidelines for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Their co-administration in a combined inhaler may facilitate adherence to medication regimens, and improve efficacy.
Objectives
To assess the efficacy of combined inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta-agonist preparations, compared to placebo, in the treatment of adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register of trials. The date of the most recent search is April 2007.
Selection criteria
Studies were included if they were randomised and double-blind. Studies could compare any combined inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonist preparation with placebo.
Data collection and analysis
Two authors independently assessed study risk of bias and extracted data. The primary outcomes were exacerbations, mortality and pneumonia. Health-related quality of life (measured by validated scales), lung function and side-effects were secondary outcomes. Dichotomous data were analysed as fixed effect odds ratios or rate ratios with 95% confidence intervals, and continuous data as mean differences and 95% confidence intervals.
Main results
Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria (6427 participants randomised). Two different combination preparations (fluticasone/salmeterol and budesonide/formoterol) were used. Study quality was good. Fluticasone/salmeterol and budesonide/formoterol both reduced the rate of exacerbations. Pooled analysis of both combination therapies indicated that exacerbations were less frequent when compared with placebo, Rate Ratio: 0.74 (95% CI 0.7 to 0.8). The clinical impact of this effect depends on the frequency of exacerbations experienced by patients. The patients included in these trials had on average 1-2 exacerbations per year which means that treatment with combination therapy would lead to a reduction of one exacerbation every two to four years in these individuals. There is an overall reduction in mortality, but this outcome is dominated by the results of TORCH and further studies on budesonide/formoterol are required. The three year number needed to treat to prevent one extra death is 36 (95% CI 21 to 258), using a baseline risk of 15.2% from the placebo arm of TORCH. Both treatments led to statistically significant improvement in health status measurements, although the clinical importance of the differences observed is open to interpretation. Symptoms and lung function assessments favoured combination treatments. There was an increase in the risk of pneumonia with combined inhalers. The three year number needed to treat for one extra case of pneumonia is 13, using a baseline risk of 12.3% from the placebo arm of TORCH. Fewer participants withdrew from studies assessing combined inhalers due to adverse events and lack of efficacy.
Authors’ conclusions
Compared with placebo, combination therapy led to a significant reduction of a quarter in exacerbation rates. There was a significant reduction in all-cause mortality with the addition of data from the TORCH trial. The increased risk of pneumonia is a concern, and better reporting of this outcome in future studies would be helpful. In order to draw firmer conclusions about the effects of combination therapy in a single inhaler more data are necessary, particularly in relation to the profile of adverse events and benefits in relation to different doses of inhaled corticosteroids.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003794.pub3
PMCID: PMC4164185  PMID: 17943798
Adrenergic beta-Agonists [*therapeutic use]; Bronchodilator Agents [*therapeutic use]; Drug Combinations; Nebulizers and Vaporizers; Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive [*drug therapy]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Humans
15.  Adrenal function and high dose inhaled corticosteroids for asthma 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1997;76(5):405-410.
Accepted 31 January 1997

OBJECTIVE—To investigate effects on adrenal function of fluticasone, a recently released inhaled steroid preparation with lower systemic bioavailability than beclomethasone dipropionate.
METHODS—34 children on high doses (400-909 µg/m2/d) of inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate or budesonide were recruited into a double blind, crossover study investigating the effects on adrenal function of beclomethasone and fluticasone propionate, given using a standard spacer (Volumatic). The 24 hour excretion rates of total cortisol and cortisol metabolites were determined at baseline (after a two week run in), after six weeks treatment with an equal dose of beclomethasone, and after six weeks of treatment with half the dose of fluticasone, both given through a spacer device.
RESULTS—The comparison of effects between fluticasone and beclomethasone during treatment periods, although favouring fluticasone in all measured variables, reached significance only after correction for urinary creatinine excretion (tetrahydrocortisol and 5α-tetrahydrocortisol geometric means: 424 v 341 µg/m2/d). The baseline data showed adrenal suppression in the children taking beclomethasone (total cortisol geometric means: 975 v 1542µg/d) and a dose related suppression in the children taking budesonide. Suppressed adrenal function in the children who were taking beclomethasone at baseline subsequently improved with fluticasone and beclomethasone during treatment periods.
CONCLUSIONS—Fluticasone is less likely to suppress adrenal function than beclomethasone at therapeutically equivalent doses. The baseline data also support the claim that spacer devices should be used for the administration of high doses of inhaled topical steroids.


PMCID: PMC1717181  PMID: 9196354
16.  Combined corticosteroid and long-acting beta-agonist in one inhaler versus inhaled steroids for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Background
Long-acting beta-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids have both been recommended in guidelines for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Their co-administration in a combined inhaler is intended to facilitate adherence to medication regimens, and to improve efficacy. Two preparations are currently available, fluticasone/salmeterol (FPS) and budesonide/formoterol (BDF).
Objectives
To assess the efficacy of combined inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta-agonist preparations, compared to inhaled corticosteroids, in the treatment of adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register of trials. The date of the most recent search is April 2007.
Selection criteria
Studies were included if they were randomised and double-blind. Studies compared combined inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonist preparations with the inhaled corticosteroid component.
Data collection and analysis
Two reviewers independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. The primary outcome were exacerbations, mortality and pneumonia. Health-related quality of life (measured by validated scales), lung function and side-effects were secondary outcomes. Dichotomous data were analysed as fixed effect odds ratios or rate ratios with 95% confidence intervals, and continuous data as mean differences and 95% confidence intervals.
Main results
Seven studies of good methodological quality met the inclusion criteria randomising 5708 participants with predominantly poorly reversible, severe COPD. Exacerbation rates were significantly reduced with combination therapies (Rate ratio 0.91; 95% confidence interval 0.85 to 0.97, P = 0.0008). Data from two FPS studies indicated that exacerbations requiring oral steroids were reduced with combination therapy. Data from one large study suggest that there is no significant difference in the rate of hospitalisations. Mortality was also lower with combined treatment (odds ratio 0.77; 95% confidence interval 0.63 to 0.94). Quality of life, lung function and withdrawals due to lack of efficacy favoured combination treatment. Adverse event profiles were similar between the two treatments. No significant differences were found between FPS and BDP in the primary outcomes, but the confidence intervals for the BDP results were wide as smaller numbers of patients have been studied.
Authors’ conclusions
Combination ICS and LABA significantly reduces morbidity and mortality in COPD when compared with monocomponent steroid. Adverse events were not significantly different between treatments, although evidence from other sources indicates that inhaled corticosteroids are associated with increased risk of pneumonia. Assessment of BDF in larger, long-term trials is required. Dose response data would provide valuable evidence on whether efficacy and safety outcomes are affected by different steroid loads.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006826
PMCID: PMC4069257  PMID: 17943917
Adrenal Cortex Hormones [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Adrenergic beta-Agonists [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Bronchodilator Agents [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Drug Combinations; Drug Therapy; Combination; Nebulizers and Vaporizers; Pneumonia [chemically induced]; Pulmonary Disease; Chronic Obstructive [drug therapy; mortality]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Steroids [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Humans
17.  Comparison and optimal use of fixed combinations in the management of COPD 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Indications for the use of long-acting β2-agonists (LABAs) and inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in patients with COPD are described in the various international guidelines, but no special recommendations are made concerning the use of combination inhalers containing a LABA as well as an ICS. To determine the place of combination inhalers in the treatment of COPD we reviewed recent literature concerning this subject. On molecular level ICS/LABA combination therapy has anti-inflammatory properties which cannot be attributed to ICS alone. All clinical studies indicate that the two available combinations (salmeterol/fluticasone and formoterol/budesonide) significantly reduce exacerbation rate of moderate/severe exacerbations when compared with placebo. Some studies also showed a significant reduction in exacerbation rate compared with LABA monotherapy, but not compared with ICS monotherapy. From the patient’s perspective, ICS/LABA combination inhalers are the first choice when both need to be prescribed, possibly improving patient compliance for ICS. Currently little evidence is available to predict if flexible treatment with LABA/ICS combination inhalers will improve disease control in COPD. Further studies are needed to elucidate the clinical benefit of combination inhalers versus the individual components in different inhalers, and to investigate the clinical benefit of flexible dosing of combination inhalers in patients with COPD.
PMCID: PMC2695609  PMID: 18044682
COPD; long-acting β2-agonists; inhaled corticosteroids
18.  Comparison of the systemic effects of fluticasone propionate and budesonide given by dry powder inhaler in healthy and asthmatic subjects 
Thorax  2001;56(3):186-191.
BACKGROUND—The potential for long term adverse effects from inhaled corticosteroids relates to their systemic absorption, usually assessed from proxy markers in short term studies. When fluticasone propionate and budesonide have been compared in this way the results have been inconsistent. To determine whether this is because of the subjects studied or the sensitivity of the systemic marker used, we have compared the effects of fluticasone propionate and budesonide in healthy and asthmatic subjects and investigated the effect of treatment on three systemic markers.
METHODS—Forty six healthy subjects were randomised to receive inhaled fluticasone propionate 1500 µg/day (via an Accuhaler), budesonide 1600 µg/day (via a Turbuhaler), or placebo; 31 subjects with moderately severe asthma were randomised to receive the same doses of fluticasone propionate or budesonide but not placebo. Systemic effects in healthy and asthmatic subjects were compared after 7 days. Treatment was continued for another 21 days in the subjects with asthma when systemic effects and asthma control were assessed.
RESULTS—At baseline healthy subjects had higher urinary levels of total cortisol metabolites (TCM) than subjects with asthma. After 7 days of treatment with fluticasone propionate urinary TCM levels in the healthy subjects were significantly lower than in the subjects with asthma (mean difference between groups 1663 µg/day, 95% CI 328 to 2938). This was not the case with budesonide, however, where urinary TCM levels in the healthy subjects remained above those in the asthmatic subjects (mean difference between groups 1210 µg/day, 95% CI -484 to 2904). Urinary TCM levels were considerably more sensitive to the effects of inhaled corticosteroids than morning serum cortisol or osteocalcin concentrations. Only budesonide reduced the serum level of osteocalcin.
CONCLUSIONS—When given by dry powder inhaler for 7 days, fluticasone propionate 1500 µg/day has a greater effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in healthy subjects than in subjects with asthma, but this is not the case for budesonide 1600 µg/day. These findings, together with the differences in sensitivity between systemic markers, explain many of the discrepancies in the literature.


doi:10.1136/thorax.56.3.186
PMCID: PMC1758787  PMID: 11182010
19.  Fluticasone/formoterol combination therapy is as effective as fluticasone/salmeterol in the treatment of asthma, but has a more rapid onset of action: an open-label, randomized study 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00476073
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-11-28
PMCID: PMC3146950  PMID: 21605396
20.  Adrenal insufficiency in a woman secondary to standard-dose inhaled fluticasone propionate therapy 
Summary
A 55-year-old woman with asthma presented with adrenal insufficiency of unknown origin. She was referred to our Division of Reproductive Endocrinology to further evaluate an undetectable morning cortisol level discovered during the evaluation of a low serum DHEA-S level. She was asymptomatic other than having mild fatigue and weight gain. Her medication list included 220 μg of inhaled fluticasone propionate twice daily for asthma, which she was taking as prescribed. On presentation, the undetectable morning cortisol level was confirmed. A urinary measurement of fluticasone propionate 17β-carboxylic acid was markedly elevated. Fluticasone therapy was discontinued and salmeterol therapy initiated with supplemental hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone therapy was discontinued after 2 months. A repeat urinary fluticasone measurement 4 months after the discontinuation of fluticasone therapy was undetectably low and morning cortisol level was normal at 18.0 μg/dl. Inhaled fluticasone is generally considered to be minimally systemically absorbed. This patient's only clinical evidence suggesting adrenal insufficiency was fatigue accompanying a low serum DHEA-S level. This case demonstrates that adrenal insufficiency can be caused by a routine dose of inhaled fluticasone. Missing this diagnosis could potentially result in adrenal crisis upon discontinuation of fluticasone therapy.
Learning points
Standard-dose inhaled fluticasone can cause adrenal insufficiency.Adrenal insufficiency should be considered in patients taking, or who have recently discontinued, inhaled fluticasone therapy and present with new onset of nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, depression, myalgia, arthralgia, unexplained weight loss, and nausea that are suggestive of adrenal insufficiency.Adrenal insufficiency should be considered in postoperative patients who exhibit signs of hypoadrenalism after fluticasone therapy has been withheld in the perioperative setting.Routine screening for hypoadrenalism in patients without clinical signs or symptoms of adrenal insufficiency after the discontinuation of inhaled fluticasone therapy is not indicated due to the apparently low incidence of adrenal insufficiency caused by fluticasone.
doi:10.1530/EDM-13-0080
PMCID: PMC3965276  PMID: 24683484
21.  A retrospective database study comparing treatment outcomes and cost associated with choice of fixed-dose inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β2-agonists for asthma maintenance treatment in Germany 
Aims:
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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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).
Conclusion:
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.
doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2008.01895.x
PMCID: PMC2680329  PMID: 18803555
22.  Comparison of the lung function change in patients with COPD and bronchial asthma before and after treatment with budesonide/formoterol 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2012;4(6):583-587.
Objective
This study investigated the rapid onset of bronchodilation effect and compared lung function changes following budesonide/formoterol (Symbicort Turbuhaler®) inhalation in Chinese patients with moderate-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchial asthma.
Methods
In this open-label, parallel-group clinical study, patients eligible for study were divided into COPD group (n=62, mean age 68.16±8.75 years) and asthma group (n=30, mean age 45.80±12.35 years). Lung function tests (include FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC, and IC) were performed at baseline (t=0 min time point, value before inhalation of budesonide/formoterol), and then eligible patients received two inhalations of budesonide/formoterol (160/4.5 μg). Lung function tests were reassessed at t=3, 10 and 30 min time point. The primary end-point was lung function change 3 min after drug inhalation, and the secondary end-points were comparison of the gas flow rate (ΔFEV1) and volume responses (ΔFVC, ΔIC) between COPD and asthma patients after inhalation of budesonide/formoterol.
Results
Compared with the baseline, all patients significantly improved their lung function (included FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC, and IC) at 3 min (P<0.05). Greater bronchodilation efficacy was found in the asthma group compared with the COPD group (P<0.05). In the asthmatic patients, the curves of FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC, IC, showed improvement with an ascending trend at all time points from 3 to 30 min. Whereas in the COPD patients, only the curves of FEV1, FVC, IC showed similar pattern. We found that ΔFVC was significantly higher than ΔFEV1 in both groups (P<0.05), but no significant difference between ΔIC and ΔFEV1 (P>0.05). Compared with COPD group, asthma group had higher level of ΔFEV1 and ΔIC (P<0.05), but no significant difference for ΔFVC can be found.
Conclusions
Budesonide/formoterol has a fast onset of bronchodilation effect in patients with moderate-severe COPD and asthma. Greater efficacy was found in the asthma group compared with the COPD group. The gas flow rate and volume responses in patients with COPD differ from those with asthma after inhalation of Budesonide/formoterol.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2012.11.02
PMCID: PMC3506807  PMID: 23205282
Budesonide/formoterol; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; bronchial asthma; lung function test
23.  Canadian economic evaluation of budesonide-formoterol as maintenance and reliever treatment in patients with moderate to severe asthma 
OBJECTIVES:
To compare the cost-effectiveness of budesonide-formoterol in a single inhaler used as both maintenance and reliever medication versus clinician-directed titration of salmeterol-fluticasone as maintenance medication, plus salbutamol taken as needed, in controlling asthma in adults and adolescents.
METHODS:
A Canadian economic evaluation was conducted based on the results of a large (n=2143), open-label, randomized, controlled effectiveness trial in which health resource use was prospectively collected. The primary outcome measurement was the time to the first severe exacerbation. Costs included direct medical costs (physician and emergency room visits, hospitalizations, asthma drug costs, etc) and productivity (absenteeism). The time horizon was one year, which corresponded to the duration of the clinical trial. Prices were obtained from 2005 Canadian sources. Both health care and societal perspectives were considered, and deterministic univariate sensitivity analyses were conducted.
RESULTS:
In the clinical trial, budesonide-formoterol as maintenance and reliever treatment was superior to salmeterol-fluticasone with respect to the time to the first severe exacerbation, overall rate of exacerbations and use of as-needed reliever medication. The annualized rate of severe exacerbations was 0.24 events/patient in the budesonide-formoterol arm and 0.31 events/patient in the salmeterol-fluticasone arm (P=0.0025). From a health care perspective, the mean cost per patient-year was $1,315 in the budesonide-formoterol arm versus $1,541 in the salmeterol-fluticasone arm. From a societal perspective, the mean cost per patient-year was $1,538 in the budesonide-formoterol arm and $1,854 in the salmeterol-fluticasone arm. Budesonide-formoterol was dominant (more effective and less expensive) in the base case analysis from both perspectives. The results were robust under sensitivity testing.
CONCLUSIONS:
The strategy that allows budesonide-formoterol to be used in a single inhaler as both maintenance and reliever medication proved to be more effective and less expensive than a strategy of clinician-directed titration of salmeterol-fluticasone with salbutamol as reliever therapy.
PMCID: PMC2676392  PMID: 17703241
Asthma; Budesonide-formoterol; Comparison; Economic evaluation; Salmeterol-fluticasone
24.  Inhaled corticosteroids in COPD and the risk of serious pneumonia 
Thorax  2013;68(11):1029-1036.
Background
Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are known to increase the risk of pneumonia in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is unclear whether the risk of pneumonia varies for different inhaled agents, particularly fluticasone and budesonide, and increases with the dose and long-term duration of use.
Methods
We formed a new-user cohort of patients with COPD treated during 1990–2005. Subjects were identified using the Quebec health insurance databases and followed through 2007 or until a serious pneumonia event, defined as a first hospitalisation for or death from pneumonia. A nested case–control analysis was used to estimate the rate ratio (RR) of serious pneumonia associated with current ICS use, adjusted for age, sex, respiratory disease severity and comorbidity.
Results
The cohort included 163 514 patients, of which 20 344 had a serious pneumonia event during the 5.4 years of follow-up (incidence rate 2.4/100/year). Current use of ICS was associated with a 69% increase in the rate of serious pneumonia (RR 1.69; 95% CI 1.63 to 1.75). The risk was sustained with long-term use and declined gradually after stopping ICS use, disappearing after 6 months (RR 1.08; 95% CI 0.99 to 1.17). The rate of serious pneumonia was higher with fluticasone (RR 2.01; 95% CI 1.93 to 2.10), increasing with the daily dose, but was much lower with budesonide (RR 1.17; 95% CI 1.09 to 1.26).
Conclusions
ICS use by patients with COPD increases the risk of serious pneumonia. The risk is particularly elevated and dose related with fluticasone. While residual confounding cannot be ruled out, the results are consistent with those from recent randomised trials.
doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-202872
PMCID: PMC3812880  PMID: 24130228
25.  24 hour and fractionated profiles of adrenocortical activity in asthmatic patients receiving inhaled and intranasal corticosteroids 
Thorax  1999;54(1):20-26.
BACKGROUND—As both rhinitis and asthma are allergic conditions, they frequently occur together. The objective of this study was to assess the diurnal adrenocortical activity in asthmatics receiving inhaled (inh) and intranasal (n) formulations of two different corticosteroids, fluticasone propionate (FP) and triamcinolone acetonide (TAA), both given at clinically recommended doses.
METHODS—Twelve stable moderately severe asthmatic subjects of mean age 23.9 years and mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) 84% predicted were recruited into a randomised placebo (PL) controlled two-way crossover study comparing nPL + inhPL, nPL + inhFP (880 µg bid), and nFP (200 µg once daily) + inhFP (880 µg bid) with nPL + inhPL, nPL + inhTAA (800 µg bid) and nTAA (220 µg once daily) + inhTAA (800 µg bid), each given for five days with a 10 day washout period. Twenty four hour integrated and fractionated (overnight, 08.00 hours, daytime) serum cortisol levels and urinary cortisol/creatinine excretion were measured.
RESULTS—For 24 hour and fractionated serum cortisol levels and corrected urinary cortisol/creatinine excretion there were significant (p<0.05) differences between all active treatments and placebo. For 24 hour integrated serum cortisol levels the ratio between inhaled TAA and FP was 2.3 fold (95% CI 1.2 to 4.3), and for 24hour urinary cortisol/creatinine excretion the ratio was two-fold (95% CI 1.2 to 3.4). For 24 hour urinary cortisol excretion, with all active treatments, individual abnormal low values of <40 nmol (<14.4 µg) occurred in 17/24 with FP compared with 4/24 with TAA (p<0.0005). The 24 hour serum cortisol profile was flattened by FP but not with TAA. The addition of nasal corticosteroid did not produce further significant suppression of mean cortisol values, although with intranasal FP there were three more abnormal values for 24 hour urinary cortisol excretion than with inhaled FP alone.
CONCLUSIONS—Both inhaled FP and TAA caused significant suppression of adrenocortical activity which was twice as great with FP, the latter being associated with significantly more individual abnormal values and loss of the normal diurnal circadian rhythm. Fractionated serum cortisol levels and urinary cortisol/creatinine excretion were as sensitive as the respective integrated 24 hour measurements. Although the addition of intranasal formulations did not produce further significant suppression of mean values, there were more individual abnormal cortisol values associated with the addition of intranasal FP.


PMCID: PMC1745359  PMID: 10343626

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