Budesonide/formoterol in a single inhaler versus inhaled corticosteroids alone in the treatment of asthma

A Tal, G Simon, J H Vermeulen, V Petru, N Cobos, M L Everard, K de Boeck
Pediatric Pulmonology 2002, 34 (5): 342-50
The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy (expressed as effect on lung function) and tolerability of Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol in a single inhaler) in children with asthma. This was a double-blind, double-dummy, randomized, parallel-group, multicenter trial. After a 2-4-week run-in period, 286 asthmatic children (177 boys, 109 girls; mean age, 11 years; mean forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV(1)), 75% predicted normal), previously treated with inhaled corticosteroids (average dose 548 microg/day), were randomized to 12 weeks' treatment with either budesonide/formoterol 80/4.5 microg, two inhalations twice daily (n = 148), or an equivalent dose of budesonide 100 microg, two inhalations twice daily (n = 138). Efficacy variables included morning and evening peak expiratory flow (PEF), spirometery, asthma symptoms, and use of rescue medication (beta(2)-agonists). Serial FEV(1) assessments were carried out on a subgroup of children (budesonide/formoterol, n = 41; budesonide, n = 40) at randomization and at week 12. Relative to baseline, morning PEF (primary variable) increased to a significantly greater extent with budesonide/formoterol than with budesonide alone (7.22% predicted normal vs 3.45% predicted normal; P < 0.001). Evening PEF also increased significantly with budesonide/formoterol (6.13% predicted normal vs. 2.73% predicted normal; P < 0.001), as did mean FEV(1) and serial FEV(1) measured over 12 hr (both P < 0.05). Similar improvements in asthma symptoms and rescue medication use were observed in both groups. The two treatment groups were similar in terms of their adverse-event profile and rates of discontinuation. Budesonide/formoterol in a single inhaler provided rapid improvements in PEF and FEV(1) compared to inhaled budesonide alone. These improvements were sustained throughout the study period. Budesonide/formoterol was well-tolerated in children with moderate persistent asthma.

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