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1.  A blinded evaluation of the efficacy and safety of glycopyrronium, a once-daily long-acting muscarinic antagonist, versus tiotropium, in patients with COPD: the GLOW5 study 
Two once-daily long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) are currently available for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – tiotropium and glycopyrronium. Previous studies have compared glycopyrronium with open-label tiotropium. In the GLOW5 study, we compare glycopyrronium with blinded tiotropium.
In this blinded, double-dummy, parallel group, 12-week study, patients with moderate-to-severe COPD were randomized 1:1 to glycopyrronium 50 μg once daily or tiotropium 18 μg once daily. The primary objective was to demonstrate the non-inferiority of glycopyrronium versus blinded tiotropium with respect to trough forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) following 12 weeks of treatment (non-inferiority margin: –50 mL). Secondary objectives were to evaluate glycopyrronium versus tiotropium for other spirometric outcomes, breathlessness (Transition Dyspnea Index; TDI), health status (St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire; SGRQ), daily rescue medication use, COPD exacerbations and COPD symptoms over 12 weeks of treatment.
657 patients were randomized (glycopyrronium: 327; tiotropium: 330); 96% (630 patients) completed the study. Least squares mean trough FEV1 for both glycopyrronium and tiotropium was 1.405 L at Week 12, meeting the criterion for non-inferiority (mean treatment difference: 0 mL, 95% CI: –32, 31 mL). Glycopyrronium demonstrated rapid bronchodilation following first dose on Day 1, with significantly higher FEV1 at all time points from 0–4 h post-dose versus tiotropium (all p < 0.001). FEV1 area under the curve from 0–4 h (AUC0–4h) post-dose with glycopyrronium was significantly superior to tiotropium on Day 1 (p < 0.001) and was comparable to tiotropium at Week 12. Glycopyrronium demonstrated comparable improvements to tiotropium in TDI focal score, SGRQ total score, rescue medication use and the rate of COPD exacerbations (all p = not significant). Patients on glycopyrronium also had a significantly lower total COPD symptom score versus patients on tiotropium after 12 weeks (p = 0.035). Adverse events were reported by a similar percentage of patients receiving glycopyrronium (40.4%) and tiotropium (40.6%).
In patients with moderate-to-severe COPD, 12-week blinded treatment with once-daily glycopyrronium 50 μg or tiotropium 18 μg, provided similar efficacy and safety, with glycopyrronium having a faster onset of action on Day 1 versus tiotropium.
Trial registration, NCT01613326
PMCID: PMC3907130  PMID: 24438744
COPD; Glycopyrronium; Breezhaler; Tiotropium; Bronchodilator; Long-acting muscarinic antagonist; Blinding
2.  Efficacy and Safety of Fluticasone Furoate/Vilanterol Compared With Fluticasone Propionate/Salmeterol Combination in Adult and Adolescent Patients With Persistent Asthma 
Chest  2013;144(4):1222-1229.
The combination of fluticasone furoate (FF), a novel inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), and vilanterol (VI), a long-acting β2 agonist, is under development as a once-daily treatment of asthma and COPD. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of FF/VI with fluticasone propionate (FP)/salmeterol (SAL) in patients with persistent asthma uncontrolled on a medium dose of ICS.
In a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel group study, 806 patients received FF/VI (100/25 μg, n = 403) once daily in the evening delivered through ELLIPTA (GlaxoSmithKline) dry powder inhaler, or FP/SAL (250/50 μg, n = 403) bid through DISKUS/ACCUHALER (GlaxoSmithKline). The primary efficacy measure was 0- to 24-h serial weighted mean (wm) FEV1 after 24 weeks of treatment.
Improvements from baseline in 0- to 24-h wmFEV1 were observed with both FF/VI (341 mL) and FP/SAL (377 mL); the adjusted mean treatment difference was not statistically significant (−37 mL; 95% CI, −88 to 15, P = 0.162). There were no differences between 0- to 4-h serial wmFEV1, trough FEV1, and asthma control and quality-of-life questionnaire scores. There was no difference in reported exacerbations between treatments. Both treatments were well tolerated, with no clinically relevant effect on urinary cortisol excretion or vital signs and no treatment-related serious adverse events.
The efficacy of once-daily FF/VI was similar to bid FP/SAL in improving lung function in patients with persistent asthma. No safety issues were identified.
Trial registry:; No.: NCT01147848; URL:
PMCID: PMC3787916  PMID: 23846316
3.  Case-finding options for COPD: Results from the BOLD Study 
The European respiratory journal  2012;41(3):548-555.
To compare strategies for COPD case-finding using data from the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) study.
Population-based samples of adults aged ≥40 years (n= 9390) from 14 countries completed a questionnaire and spirometry. We compared the screening efficiency of different staged algorithms that used questionnaire data and/or PEF to identify persons at risk for COPD and hence needing confirmatory spirometry. Separate algorithms were fitted for moderate/severe COPD and for severe COPD. We estimated the cost of each algorithm in 1000 people.
For moderate/severe COPD, use of questionnaire data alone permitted high sensitivity (97%), but required confirmatory spirometry on 80% of participants. Use of PEF only required confirmatory spirometry in only 19-22% of subjects with 83-84% sensitivity. For severe COPD, use of PEF achieved 91-93% sensitivity, requiring confirmatory spirometry in <9% of participants. Cost analysis suggested that a staged screening algorithm using only PEF initially, followed by confirmatory spirometry as needed, was the most cost-effective case finding strategy.
Our results support the use of PEF as a simple, cost-effective initial screening tool for conducting COPD case-finding in adults ≥40 years. These findings should be validated in real-world settings such as the primary care environment.
PMCID: PMC3529919  PMID: 22743668
Adult; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Peak Expiratory Flow; questionnaire; screening; epidemiology
4.  Global asthma prevalence in adults: findings from the cross-sectional world health survey 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:204.
Asthma is a major cause of disability, health resource utilization and poor quality of life world-wide. We set out to generate estimates of the global burden of asthma in adults, which may inform the development of strategies to address this common disease.
The World Health Survey (WHS) was developed and implemented by the World Health Organization in 2002-2003. A total of 178,215 individuals from 70 countries aged 18 to 45 years responded to questions related to asthma and related symptoms. The prevalence of asthma was based on responses to questions relating to self-reported doctor diagnosed asthma, clinical/treated asthma, and wheezing in the last 12 months.
The global prevalence rates of doctor diagnosed asthma, clinical/treated asthma and wheezing in adults were 4.3%, 4.5%, and 8.6% respectively, and varied by as much as 21-fold amongst the 70 countries. Australia reported the highest rate of doctor diagnosed, clinical/treated asthma, and wheezing (21.0%, 21.5%, and 27.4%). Amongst those with clinical/treated asthma, almost 24% were current smokers, half reported wheezing, and 20% had never been treated for asthma.
This study provides a global estimate of the burden of asthma in adults, and suggests that asthma continues to be a major public health concern worldwide. The high prevalence of smoking remains a major barrier to combating the global burden of asthma. While the highest prevalence rates were observed in resource-rich countries, resource-poor nations were also significantly affected, posing a barrier to development as it stretches further the demands of non-communicable diseases.
PMCID: PMC3353191  PMID: 22429515
5.  Efficacy in asthma of once-daily treatment with fluticasone furoate: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):132.
Fluticasone furoate (FF) is a novel long-acting inhaled corticosteroid (ICS). This double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized study evaluated the efficacy and safety of FF 200 mcg or 400 mcg once daily, either in the morning or in the evening, and FF 200 mcg twice daily (morning and evening), for 8 weeks in patients with persistent asthma.
Asthma patients maintained on ICS for ≥ 3 months with baseline morning forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) 50-80% of predicted normal value and FEV1 reversibility of ≥ 12% and ≥ 200 ml were eligible. The primary endpoint was mean change from baseline FEV1 at week 8 in pre-dose (morning or evening [depending on regimen], pre-rescue bronchodilator) FEV1.
A total of 545 patients received one of five FF treatment groups and 101 patients received placebo (intent-to-treat population). Each of the five FF treatment groups produced a statistically significant improvement in pre-dose FEV1 compared with placebo (p < 0.05). FF 400 mcg once daily in the evening and FF 200 mcg twice daily produced similar placebo-adjusted improvements in evening pre-dose FEV1 at week 8 (240 ml vs. 235 ml). FF 400 mcg once daily in the morning, although effective, resulted in a smaller improvement in morning pre-dose FEV1 than FF 200 mcg twice daily at week 8 (315 ml vs. 202 ml). The incidence of oral candidiasis was low (0-4%) and UC excretion was comparable with placebo for all FF groups.
FF at total daily doses of 200 mcg or 400 mcg was significantly more effective than placebo. FF 400 mcg once daily in the evening had similar efficacy to FF 200 mcg twice daily and all FF regimens had a safety tolerability profile generally similar to placebo. This indicates that inhaled FF is an effective and well tolerated once-daily treatment for mild-to-moderate asthma.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3217852  PMID: 21977941
once-daily; ICS; asthma
6.  Efficacy and safety of once-daily aclidinium in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):55.
The long-term efficacy and safety of aclidinium bromide, a novel, long-acting muscarinic antagonist, were investigated in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In two double-blind, 52-week studies, ACCLAIM/COPD I (n = 843) and II (n = 804), patients were randomised to inhaled aclidinium 200 μg or placebo once-daily. Patients were required to have a post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity ratio of ≤70% and FEV1 <80% of the predicted value. The primary endpoint was trough FEV1 at 12 and 28 weeks. Secondary endpoints were health status measured by St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and time to first moderate or severe COPD exacerbation.
At 12 and 28 weeks, aclidinium improved trough FEV1 versus placebo in ACCLAIM/COPD I (by 61 and 67 mL; both p < 0.001) and ACCLAIM/COPD II (by 63 and 59 mL; both p < 0.001). More patients had a SGRQ improvement ≥4 units at 52 weeks with aclidinium versus placebo in ACCLAIM/COPD I (48.1% versus 39.5%; p = 0.025) and ACCLAIM/COPD II (39.0% versus 32.8%; p = 0.074). The time to first exacerbation was significantly delayed by aclidinium in ACCLAIM/COPD II (hazard ratio [HR] 0.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.55 to 0.92; p = 0.01), but not ACCLAIM/COPD I (HR 1.0; 95% CI 0.72 to 1.33; p = 0.9). Adverse events were minor in both studies.
Aclidinium is effective and well tolerated in patients with moderate to severe COPD.
Trial registration NCT00363896 (ACCLAIM/COPD I) and NCT00358436 (ACCLAIM/COPD II).
PMCID: PMC3098801  PMID: 21518460
Aclidinium bromide; anticholinergic; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; long-acting muscarinic antagonist
7.  Overall asthma control achieved with budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy for patients on different treatment steps 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):38.
Adjusting medication for uncontrolled asthma involves selecting one of several options from the same or a higher treatment step outlined in asthma guidelines. We examined the relative benefit of introducing budesonide/formoterol (BUD/FORM) maintenance and reliever therapy (Symbicort SMART® Turbuhaler®) in patients previously prescribed treatments from Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) Steps 2, 3 or 4.
This is a post hoc analysis of the results of five large clinical trials (>12000 patients) comparing BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy with other treatments categorised by treatment step at study entry. Both current clinical asthma control during the last week of treatment and exacerbations during the study were examined.
At each GINA treatment step, the proportion of patients achieving target levels of current clinical control were similar or higher with BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy compared with the same or a higher fixed maintenance dose of inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β2-agonist (ICS/LABA) (plus short-acting β2-agonist [SABA] as reliever), and rates of exacerbations were lower at all treatment steps in BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy versus same maintenance dose ICS/LABA (P < 0.01) and at treatment Step 4 versus higher maintenance dose ICS/LABA (P < 0.001). BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy also achieved significantly higher rates of current clinical control and significantly lower exacerbation rates at most treatment steps compared with a higher maintenance dose ICS + SABA (Steps 2-4 for control and Steps 3 and 4 for exacerbations). With all treatments, the proportion of patients achieving current clinical control was lower with increasing treatment steps.
BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy may be a preferable option for patients on Steps 2 to 4 of asthma guidelines requiring a more effective treatment and, compared with other fixed dose alternatives, is most effective in the higher treatment steps.
PMCID: PMC3082240  PMID: 21463522
8.  High Prevalence of Tuberculosis in Previously Treated Patients, Cape Town, South Africa 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2007;13(8):1189-1194.
More than half of smear-positive case-patients had previously undergone treatment.
The tuberculosis (TB) notification rate is high and increasing in 2 communities in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2002, we conducted a prevalence survey among adults >15 years of age to determine the TB prevalence rate; 15% of households in these communities were randomly sampled. All persons living in sampled households were eligible for chest radiography and sputum examination. Of the 3,483 adults who completed a questionnaire, 2,608 underwent chest radiography and sputum examination. We detected 26 bacteriologically confirmed TB cases and a prevalence of 10.0/1,000 (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.2–13.8 per 1,000). We found 18 patients with smear-positive TB, of whom 8 were new patients (3.1/1,000, 95% CI 0.9–5.1/1,000). More than half of patients with smear-positive TB (10, 56%) had previously been treated. Such patients may contribute to transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the high TB prevalence rate. Successful treatment of TB patients must be a priority.
PMCID: PMC2828063  PMID: 17953090
Survey; recurrence; tuberculosis; prevalence; South Africa; research
9.  Validation of a guideline-based composite outcome assessment tool for asthma control 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):26.
A global definition of asthma control does not currently exist. The purpose of this study was to validate two new guideline-based composite measures of asthma control, defined as totally controlled (TC) asthma and well controlled (WC) asthma.
We used data from 3416 patients randomised and treated in the multi-centre Gaining Optimal Asthma controL (GOAL) study. The criteria comprising the asthma control measures were based on Global Initiative for Asthma/National Institutes of Health guidelines. This validation study examined the measurement properties of the asthma control measures using data from run-in, baseline, 12 and 52 weeks. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and the Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) were used as the reference criteria in the validation analysis.
Both measures had good discriminative ability showing significant differences in FEV1 and AQLQ scores between control classification both cross-sectionally and longitudinally (p < 0.001). Overall both of the composite measures accounted for more of the variance in FEV1 after 52 weeks than the individual components of each asthma control measure. Both of the reference criteria were independently related to each asthma control measure (p < 0.0001). The measures also had good predictive validity showing significant differences in FEV1 and AQLQ scores at 52 weeks by control classification at 12 weeks (p < 0.0001).
The guideline-based composite asthma control measures of WC asthma and TC asthma have good psychometric properties and are both valid functional indices of disease control in asthma.
PMCID: PMC1847816  PMID: 17376233
10.  Diagnostic accuracy of an integrated respiratory guideline in identifying patients with respiratory symptoms requiring screening for pulmonary tuberculosis: a cross-sectional study 
To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the integrated Practical Approach to Lung Health in South Africa (PALSA) guideline in identifying patients requiring bacteriological screening for tuberculosis (TB), and to determine which clinical features best predict suspected and bacteriologically-confirmed tuberculosis among patients with respiratory symptoms.
A prospective, cross-sectional study in which 1392 adult patients with cough and/or difficult breathing, attending a primary care facility in Cape Town, South Africa, were evaluated by a nurse using the guideline. The accuracy of a nurse using the guideline to identify TB suspects was compared to that of primary care physicians' diagnoses of (1) suspected TB, and (2) proven TB supported by clinical information and chest radiographs.
The nurse using the guideline identified 516 patients as TB suspects compared with 365 by the primary care physicians, representing a sensitivity of 76% (95% confidence interval (CI) 71%–79%), specificity of 77% (95% CI 74%–79%), positive predictive value of 53% (95% CI 49%–58%), negative predictive value of 90% (95% CI 88%–92%), and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (ARUC) of 0.76 (95% CI 0.74–0.79). Sputum results were obtained in 320 of the 365 primary care physicians TB suspects (88%); 40 (13%) of these were positive for TB. Only 4 cases were not identified by the nurse using the guideline. The primary care physicians diagnostic accuracy in diagnosing bacteriologically-confirmed TB (n = 320) was as follows: sensitivity 90% (95% CI 76%–97%), specificity 65% (95% CI 63%–68%), negative predictive value 7% (95% CI 5%–10%), positive predictive value 99.5% (95% CI 98.8%–99.8%), and ARUC 0.78 (95% CI 0.73–0.82). Weight loss, pleuritic pain, and night sweats were independently associated with the diagnosis of bacteriologically-confirmed tuberculosis (positive likelihood ratio if all three present = 16.7, 95% CI 5.9–29.4).
The PALSA guideline is an effective screening tool for identifying patients requiring bacteriological screening for pulmonary tuberculosis in this primary care setting. This supports the randomized trial finding that use of the guideline increased TB case detection.
PMCID: PMC1569870  PMID: 16934140
11.  Effect of educational outreach to nurses on tuberculosis case detection and primary care of respiratory illness: pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2005;331(7519):750-754.
Objectives To develop and implement an educational outreach programme for the integrated case management of priority respiratory diseases (practical approach to lung health in South Africa; PALSA) and to evaluate its effects on respiratory care and detection of tuberculosis among adults attending primary care clinics.
Design Pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial, with clinics as the unit of randomisation.
Setting 40 primary care clinics, staffed by nurse practitioners, in the Free State province, South Africa.
Participants 1999 patients aged 15 or over with cough or difficult breathing (1000 in intervention clinics, 999 in control clinics).
Intervention Between two and six educational outreach sessions delivered to nurse practitioners by usual trainers from the health department. The emphasis was on key messages drawn from the customised clinical practice guideline for the outreach programme, with illustrative support materials.
Main outcome measures Sputum screening for tuberculosis, tuberculosis case detection, inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions for obstructive lung disease, and antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory tract infections.
Results All clinics and almost all patients (92.8%, 1856/1999) completed the trial. Although sputum testing for tuberculosis was similar between the groups (22.6% in outreach group v 19.3% in control group; odds ratio 1.22, 95% confidence interval 0.83 to 1.80), the case detection of tuberculosis was higher in the outreach group (6.4% v 3.8%; 1.72, 1.04 to 2.85). Prescriptions for inhaled corticosteroids were also higher (13.7% v 7.7%; 1.90, 1.14 to 3.18) but the number of antibiotic prescriptions was similar (39.7% v 39.4%; 1.01, 0.74 to 1.38).
Conclusions Combining educational outreach with integrated case management provides a promising model for improving quality of care and control of priority respiratory diseases, without extra staff, in resource poor settings.
Trial registration Current controlled trials ISRCTN13438073.
PMCID: PMC1239979  PMID: 16195293
12.  Safety and tolerability of the novel inhaled corticosteroid fluticasone furoate in combination with the β2 agonist vilanterol administered once daily for 52 weeks in patients ≥12 years old with asthma: a randomised trial 
Thorax  2013;68(6):513-520.
The inhaled corticosteroid fluticasone furoate (FF) in combination with the long-acting β2 agonist vilanterol (VI) is in development for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
To assess the safety and tolerability of FF/VI over 52 weeks in patients with asthma.
Patients (aged ≥12 years; on inhaled corticosteroid) were randomised (2:2:1) to FF/VI 100/25 µg or FF/VI 200/25 µg once daily in the evening, or fluticasone propionate (FP) 500 µg twice daily. Safety evaluations included adverse events (AEs), non-fasting glucose, potassium, 24-h urinary cortisol excretion, ophthalmic assessments, heart rate and pulse rate.
On-treatment AEs were similar across groups (FF/VI 66–69%; 73% FP). Oral candidiasis/oropharyngeal candidiasis was more common with FF/VI (6–7%) than FP (3%). Twelve serious AEs were reported; one (worsening hepatitis B on FP) was considered drug related. Statistically significant cortisol suppression was seen with FP compared with both FF/VI groups at Weeks 12 and 28 (ratios [95% CI] to FP ranged from 1.43 [1.11 to 1.84] to 1.67 [1.34 to 2.08]; p≤0.006), but not at Week 52 (ratios to FP were 1.05 [0.83 to 1.33] for FF/VI 100/25 µg and 1.09 [0.87 to 1.38] for FF/VI 200/25 µg). No clinically important changes in non-fasting glucose, potassium, QT interval corrected using Fridericia's formula (QTc[F]) or ophthalmic assessments were reported. Pulse rate (10 min post dose [Tmax], Week 52) was significantly increased with FF/VI versus FP (3.4 bpm, 95% CI 1.3 to 5.6; p=0.002 [FF/VI 100/25 µg]; 3.4 bpm, 95% CI 1.2 to 5.6; p=0.003 [FF/VI 200/25 µg]). Mean heart rate (24-h Holter monitoring) decreased from screening values in all groups (0.2–1.1 bpm FF/VI vs 5 bpm FP; Week 52).
FF/VI (100/25 µg or 200/25 µg) administered once daily over 52 weeks was well tolerated by patients aged ≥12 years with asthma. The overall safety profile of FF/VI did not reveal any findings of significant clinical concern.
PMCID: PMC3664377  PMID: 23440247
13.  Dual bronchodilation with QVA149 versus single bronchodilator therapy: the SHINE study 
The European Respiratory Journal  2013;42(6):1484-1494.
We investigated the efficacy and safety of dual bronchodilation with QVA149 versus its monocomponents indacaterol and glycopyrronium, tiotropium and placebo in patients with moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
This was a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled, 26-week trial. Patients (n = 2144) were randomised (2:2:2:2:1) to receive once-daily QVA149 (indacaterol 110 μg/glycopyrronium 50 μg), indacaterol 150 μg, glycopyrronium 50 μg, open-label tiotropium 18 μg or placebo. The primary end-point was trough forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) at week 26 for QVA149 versus its monocomponents. Secondary end-points included dyspnoea, health status, rescue medication use and safety.
Trough FEV1 at week 26 was significantly improved (p<0.001) with QVA149 compared with indacaterol and glycopyrronium (least squares mean (LSM) differences 0.07 L and 0.09 L, respectively), tiotropium and placebo (LSM differences 0.08 L and 0.20 L, respectively); these beneficial effects were sustained throughout the 26-week study. QVA149 significantly improved dyspnoea and health status versus placebo (p<0.001 and p = 0.002, respectively) and tiotropium (p = 0.007 and p = 0.009, respectively) at week 26. All treatments were well tolerated.
Dual bronchodilation with once-daily QVA149 demonstrated superior and clinically meaningful outcomes versus placebo and superiority versus treatment with a single bronchodilator, with a safety and tolerability profile similar to placebo, supporting the concept of fixed-dose long-acting muscarinic antagonist/long-acting β2-agonist combinations for the treatment of COPD.
Dual indacaterol/glycopyrronium therapy was safe and more efficacious than monotherapy in moderate-to-severe COPD
PMCID: PMC3844137  PMID: 23722616
14.  Once-daily fluticasone furoate alone or combined with vilanterol in persistent asthma 
The European Respiratory Journal  2013;43(3):773-782.
The inhaled corticosteroid fluticasone furoate (FF) and the long-acting β2 agonist vilanterol (VI) are in development as a combined once-daily therapy for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Our study objectives were to compare the efficacy and safety of once-daily FF/VI with FF alone and twice-daily fluticasone propionate (FP) in patients aged ≥12 years with moderate-to-severe persistent asthma.
Patients (n=586) received FF/VI 200/25 μg or FF 200 μg once-daily (evening dosing), or FP 500 μg twice-daily for 24 weeks. Co-primary end-points were change from baseline in trough forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) weighted mean (wm) 0–24 h serial FEV1. Secondary end-points included change from baseline in percentage of rescue-free 24-h periods, percentage of symptom-free 24-h periods and total Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ). Safety assessments included adverse events, 24-h urinary cortisol excretion, vital signs and ECG.
FF/VI significantly improved trough FEV1 and wmFEV1 versus FF and FP. Significantly more rescue-free and symptom-free 24-h periods were reported with FF/VI versus FF. Treatment differences for AQLQ were not significant. Incidence of adverse events was similar across groups. No clinically significant differences were seen for 24-h urinary cortisol excretion, vital signs or ECG.
FF/VI resulted in statistically greater improvements in lung function and symptomatic end-points versus FF, and was well tolerated in this asthma population.
Fluticasone furoate (FF)/vilanterol improved lung function and symptomatic end-points compared with FF alone
PMCID: PMC3938760  PMID: 24136330
15.  Once-daily fluticasone furoate (FF)/vilanterol reduces risk of severe exacerbations in asthma versus FF alone 
Thorax  2013;69(4):312-319.
Combination therapy with an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and long-acting β2 agonist (LABA) is recommended for patients with asthma symptomatic on ICS alone. However, there is ongoing debate regarding the risk-benefit ratio of using LABA in asthma.
To evaluate the effect of the addition of a novel LABA, vilanterol (VI), to a once-daily ICS, fluticasone furoate (FF), on the risk of severe asthma exacerbations in patients with uncontrolled asthma.
This randomised double-blind comparative study of variable duration (≥24–78 weeks) was designed to finish after 330 events (each patient's first on-treatment severe asthma exacerbation). 2019 patients with asthma aged ≥12 years with ≥1 recorded exacerbation within 1 year were randomised and received FF/VI 100/25 μg or FF 100 μg, administered once daily in the evening. The primary endpoint was time to first severe exacerbation; secondary endpoints were rate of severe asthma exacerbations per patient per year and change in trough evening forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) from baseline.
Compared with FF, FF/VI delayed the time to first severe exacerbation (HR 0.795, 95% CI 0.642 to 0.985) and reduced the annualised rate of severe exacerbations (rate reduction 25%, 95% CI 5% to 40%). Significantly greater improvements in trough FEV1 (p<0.001) were observed with FF/VI than with FF at weeks 12, 36, 52 and at endpoint. Both treatments were well tolerated with similar rates of treatment-related adverse events and on-treatment serious adverse events.
Once-daily FF/VI reduced the risk of severe asthma exacerbations and improved lung function compared with FF alone, with good tolerability and safety profile in adolescents and adults with asthma currently receiving ICS. No
PMCID: PMC3963539  PMID: 24253831
Asthma; Asthma Pharmacology
16.  Cost-effectiveness of roflumilast as an add-on treatment to long-acting bronchodilators in the treatment of COPD associated with chronic bronchitis in the United Kingdom 
To estimate the cost-effectiveness of adding a selective phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor, roflumilast, to a long-acting bronchodilator therapy (LABA) for the treatment of patients with severe-to-very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) associated with chronic bronchitis with a history of frequent exacerbations from the UK payer perspective.
A Markov model was developed to predict the lifetime cost and outcomes [exacerbations rates, life expectancy, and quality-adjusted life years (QALY)] in patients treated with roflumilast, which showed a reduction in the exacerbation rates and lung function improvement in a pooled analysis from two clinical trials, M2-124 and M2-125. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to explore the impact of uncertainties on the cost-effectiveness.
The addition of roflumilast to concomitant LABA reduced the number of exacerbations from 15.6 to 12.7 [2.9 (95 % CI 0.88–4.92) exacerbations avoided] and increased QALYs from 5.45 to 5.61 [0.16 (95 % CI 0.02–0.31) QALYs gained], at an incremental cost of £3,197 (95 % CI £2,135–£4,253). Cost in LABA alone and LABA + roflumilast were £16,161 and £19,358 respectively. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios in the base case were £19,505 (95 % CI £364–£38,646) per quality-adjusted life-year gained and 18,219 (95 % CI £12,697–£49,135) per life-year gained. Sensitivity analyses suggest that among the main determinants of cost-effectiveness are the reduction of exacerbations and the case fatality rate due to hospital-treated exacerbations. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis suggests that the probability of roflumilast being cost-effective is 82 % at willingness-to-pay £30,000 per QALY.
The addition of roflumilast to LABA in the treatment of patients with severe-to-very severe COPD reduces the rate of exacerbations and can be cost-effective in the UK setting.
PMCID: PMC3889819  PMID: 23392624
COPD; Cost-effectiveness analysis; Chronic-obstructive pulmonary disease; Roflumilast; Exacerbations; C; C6; D; I; I1; I19
17.  Implementing nurse-initiated and managed antiretroviral treatment (NIMART) in South Africa: a qualitative process evaluation of the STRETCH trial 
Task-shifting is promoted widely as a mechanism for expanding antiretroviral treatment (ART) access. However, the evidence for nurse-initiated and managed ART (NIMART) in Africa is limited, and little is known about the key barriers and enablers to implementing NIMART programmes on a large scale. The STRETCH (Streamlining Tasks and Roles to Expand Treatment and Care for HIV) programme was a complex educational and organisational intervention implemented in the Free State Province of South Africa to enable nurses providing primary HIV/AIDS care to expand their roles and include aspects of care and treatment usually provided by physicians. STRETCH used a phased implementation approach and ART treatment guidelines tailored specifically to nurses. The effects of STRETCH on pre-ART mortality, ART provision, and the quality of HIV/ART care were evaluated through a randomised controlled trial. This study was conducted alongside the trial to develop a contextualised understanding of factors affecting the implementation of the programme.
This study was a qualitative process evaluation using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with patients, health workers, health managers, and other key informants as well as observation in clinics. Research questions focused on perceptions of STRETCH, changes in health provider roles, attitudes and patient relationships, and impact of the implementation context on trial outcomes. Data were analysed collaboratively by the research team using thematic analysis.
NIMART appears to be highly acceptable among nurses, patients, and physicians. Managers and nurses expressed confidence in their ability to deliver ART successfully. This confidence developed slowly and unevenly, through a phased and well-supported approach that guided nurses through training, re-prescription, and initiation. The research also shows that NIMART changes the working and referral relationships between health staff, demands significant training and support, and faces workload and capacity constraints, and logistical and infrastructural challenges.
Large-scale NIMART appears to be feasible and acceptable in the primary level public sector health services in South Africa. Successful implementation requires a comprehensive approach with: an incremental and well supported approach to implementation; clinical guidelines tailored to nurses; and significant health services reorganisation to accommodate the knock-on effects of shifts in practice.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3464669  PMID: 22800379
Antiretroviral treatment; NIMART; South Africa; Primary healthcare; Nurse training; Process evaluation; PALSA PLUS
18.  Comparison of Quantitative Techniques including Xpert MTB/RIF to Evaluate Mycobacterial Burden 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28815.
Accurate quantification of mycobacterial load is important for the evaluation of patient infectiousness, disease severity and monitoring treatment response in human and in-vitro laboratory models of disease. We hypothesized that newer techniques would perform as well as solid media culture to quantify mycobacterial burden in laboratory specimens.
We compared the turn-around-time, detection-threshold, dynamic range, reproducibility, relative discriminative ability, of 4 mycobacterial load determination techniques: automated liquid culture (BACTEC-MGIT-960), [3H]-uracil incorporation assays, luciferase-reporter construct bioluminescence, and quantitative PCR(Xpert -MTB/RIF) using serial dilutions of Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37RV. Mycobacterial colony-forming-units(CFU) using 7H10-Middlebrook solid media served as the reference standard.
All 4 assays correlated well with the reference standard, however, bioluminescence and uracil assays had a detection threshold ≥1×103 organisms. By contrast, BACTEC-MGIT-960 liquid culture, although only providing results in days, was user-friendly, had the lowest detection threshold (<10 organisms), the greatest discriminative ability (1 vs. 10 organisms; p = 0.02), and the best reproducibility (coefficient of variance of 2% vs. 38% compared to uracil incorporation; p = 0.02). Xpert-MTB/RIF correlated well with mycobacterial load, had a rapid turn-around-time (<2 hours), was user friendly, but had a detection limit of ∼100 organisms.
Choosing a technique to quantify mycobacterial burden for laboratory or clinical research depends on availability of resources and the question being addressed. Automated liquid culture has good discriminative ability and low detection threshold but results are only obtained in days. Xpert MTB/RIF provides rapid quantification of mycobacterial burden, but has a poorer discrimination and detection threshold.
PMCID: PMC3245241  PMID: 22216117
19.  Fluticasone furoate: once-daily evening treatment versus twice-daily treatment in moderate asthma 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):160.
Inhaled corticosteroids are the recommended first-line treatment for asthma but adherence to therapy is suboptimal. The objectives of this study were to compare the efficacy and safety of once-daily (OD) evening and twice-daily (BD) regimens of the novel inhaled corticosteroid fluticasone furoate (FF) in asthma patients.
Patients with moderate asthma (age ≥ 12 years; pre-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) 40-85% predicted; FEV1 reversibility of ≥ 12% and ≥ 200 ml) were randomized to FF or fluticasone propionate (FP) regimens in a double-blind, crossover study. Patients were not permitted to have used any ICS for ≥ 8 weeks prior to enrolment and subsequently received doses of FF or FP 200 μg OD, FF or FP 100 μg BD and matching placebo by inhalation for 28 days each. Primary endpoint was Day 28 evening pre-dose (trough) FEV1; non-inferiority of FF 200 μg OD and FF 100 μg BD was assessed, as was superiority of all active treatment relative to placebo. Adverse events (AEs) and 24-hour urinary cortisol excretion were assessed.
The intent-to-treat population comprised 147 (FF) and 43 (FP) patients. On Day 28, pre-dose FEV1 showed FF 200 μg OD to be non-inferior (pre-defined limit -110 ml) to FF 100 μg BD (mean treatment difference 11 ml; 95% CI: -35 to +56 ml); all FF and FP regimens were significantly superior to placebo (p ≤ 0.02). AEs were similar to placebo; no serious AEs were reported. Urinary cortisol excretion at Day 28 for FF was lower than placebo (ratios: 200 μg OD, 0.75; 100 μg BD, 0.84; p ≤ 0.02).
FF 200 μg OD in the evening is an efficacious and well tolerated treatment for asthma patients and is not inferior to the same total BD dose.
Trial registration; NCT00766090.
PMCID: PMC3282675  PMID: 22188590
Asthma; fluticasone furoate; inhaled corticosteroid; once daily; efficacy; safety
20.  Task shifting and integration of HIV care into primary care in South Africa: The development and content of the streamlining tasks and roles to expand treatment and care for HIV (STRETCH) intervention 
Task shifting and the integration of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care into primary care services have been identified as possible strategies for improving access to antiretroviral treatment (ART). This paper describes the development and content of an intervention involving these two strategies, as part of the Streamlining Tasks and Roles to Expand Treatment and Care for HIV (STRETCH) pragmatic randomised controlled trial.
Methods: Developing the intervention
The intervention was developed following discussions with senior management, clinicians, and clinic staff. These discussions revealed that the establishment of separate antiretroviral treatment services for HIV had resulted in problems in accessing care due to the large number of patients at ART clinics. The intervention developed therefore combined the shifting from doctors to nurses of prescriptions of antiretrovirals (ARVs) for uncomplicated patients and the stepwise integration of HIV care into primary care services.
Results: Components of the intervention
The intervention consisted of regulatory changes, training, and guidelines to support nurse ART prescription, local management teams, an implementation toolkit, and a flexible, phased introduction. Nurse supervisors were equipped to train intervention clinic nurses in ART prescription using outreach education and an integrated primary care guideline. Management teams were set up and a STRETCH coordinator was appointed to oversee the implementation process.
Three important processes were used in developing and implementing this intervention: active participation of clinic staff and local and provincial management, educational outreach to train nurses in intervention sites, and an external facilitator to support all stages of the intervention rollout.
The STRETCH trial is registered with Current Control Trials ISRCTN46836853.
PMCID: PMC3163620  PMID: 21810242
21.  Clinical Diagnostic Utility of IP-10 and LAM Antigen Levels for the Diagnosis of Tuberculous Pleural Effusions in a High Burden Setting 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(3):e4689.
Current tools for the diagnosis of tuberculosis pleural effusions are sub-optimal. Data about the value of new diagnostic technologies are limited, particularly, in high burden settings. Preliminary case control studies have identified IFN-γ-inducible-10kDa protein (IP-10) as a promising diagnostic marker; however, its diagnostic utility in a day-to-day clinical setting is unclear. Detection of LAM antigen has not previously been evaluated in pleural fluid.
We investigated the comparative diagnostic utility of established (adenosine deaminase [ADA]), more recent (standardized nucleic-acid-amplification-test [NAAT]) and newer technologies (a standardized LAM mycobacterial antigen-detection assay and IP-10 levels) for the evaluation of pleural effusions in 78 consecutively recruited South African tuberculosis suspects. All consenting participants underwent pleural biopsy unless contra-indicated or refused. The reference standard comprised culture positivity for M. tuberculosis or histology suggestive of tuberculosis.
Principal Findings
Of 74 evaluable subjects 48, 7 and 19 had definite, probable and non-TB, respectively. IP-10 levels were significantly higher in TB vs non-TB participants (p<0.0001). The respective outcomes [sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV %] for the different diagnostic modalities were: ADA at the 30 IU/L cut-point [96; 69; 90; 85], NAAT [6; 93; 67; 28], IP-10 at the 28,170 pg/ml ROC-derived cut-point [80; 82; 91; 64], and IP-10 at the 4035 pg/ml cut-point [100; 53; 83; 100]. Thus IP-10, using the ROC-derived cut-point, missed ∼20% of TB cases and mis-diagnosed ∼20% of non-TB cases. By contrast, when a lower cut-point was used a negative test excluded TB. The NAAT had a poor sensitivity but high specificity. LAM antigen-detection was not diagnostically useful.
Although IP-10, like ADA, has sub-optimal specificity, it may be a clinically useful rule-out test for tuberculous pleural effusions. Larger multi-centric studies are now required to confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC2650091  PMID: 19277111
22.  Streamlining tasks and roles to expand treatment and care for HIV: randomised controlled trial protocol 
Trials  2008;9:21.
A major barrier to accessing free government-provided antiretroviral treatment (ART) in South Africa is the shortage of suitably skilled health professionals. Current South African guidelines recommend that only doctors should prescribe ART, even though most primary care is provided by nurses. We have developed an effective method of educational outreach to primary care nurses in South Africa. Evidence is needed as to whether primary care nurses, with suitable training and managerial support, can initiate and continue to prescribe and monitor ART in the majority of ART-eligible adults.
This is a protocol for a pragmatic cluster randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a complex intervention based on and supporting nurse-led antiretroviral treatment (ART) for South African patients with HIV/AIDS, compared to current practice in which doctors are responsible for initiating ART and continuing prescribing. We will randomly allocate 31 primary care clinics in the Free State province to nurse-led or doctor-led ART. Two groups of patients aged 16 years and over will be included: a) 7400 registering with the programme with CD4 counts of ≤ 350 cells/mL (mainly to evaluate treatment initiation) and b) 4900 already receiving ART (to evaluate ongoing treatment and monitoring). The primary outcomes will be time to death (in the first group) and viral suppression (in the second group). Patients' survival, viral load and health status indicators will be measured at least 6-monthly for at least one year and up to 2 years, using an existing province-wide clinical database linked to the national death register.
Trial registration
Controlled Clinical Trials ISRCTN46836853
PMCID: PMC2377234  PMID: 18433494

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