Salmeterol & fluticasone 50 microg/250 microg bid in combination provides a better long-term control than salmeterol 50 microg bid alone and placebo in COPD patients already treated with theophylline

Roberto Walter Dal Negro, Carlo Pomari, Silvia Tognella, Claudio Micheletto
Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2003, 16 (4): 241-6

UNLABELLED: Bronchodilator agents are central to the symptomatic management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and long-acting inhaled bronchodilators are regarded as more convenient. The role of inhaled corticosteroids still remains controversial, but there is increasing evidence that they may improve FEV(1) and symptoms in the long-term.

AIM: of the present small pilot study was to compare Salmeterol & Fluticasone (SM&FP) 50/250 microg bid via a single Diskus inhaler with SM 50 microg bid alone, and with placebo (P) in the treatment of moderate COPD.

METHODS: Eighteen moderate COPD patients (53-77 yr, mean basal FEV(1)=49.1% pred.+/-5.0 s.d.; mean FEV(1) reversibility=3.6% bsln+/-3.8 s.d.) treated with theophylline 400 mg/day and beta(2) short acting prn, were divided into three matched groups of six subjects according to a double-blind design, and treated with SM&FP 50/250 microcg, or SM 50 microcg alone, or P via Diskus inhaler bid for 52 weeks. In bsln, after 4, 12, 24, 36 and 52 weeks, FEV(1) (% pred), morning PEF (l/s), the daily symptom score, and the number of exacerbations (compared with the previous year) were considered. Statistics. t-test, anova in each treatment group, and anova among basal values and among the 52 week values were used, being p<0.05 accepted. Also changes (DeltaFEV(1)) from baseline were compared at different control times.

RESULTS: The mean number of exacerbations/yr decreased from 3.5+/-0.8 to 1.16+/-0.75 s.d. exacerbation/yr in the SM&FP group (t-test p<0.001); from 3.0+/-0.89 to 2.3+/-0.81 s.d. in the SM group (t-test p=ns); and from 3.16+/-1.16 to 4.16+/-0.75 s.d. in the P group (t-test p=ns). Patients receiving SM&FP showed the highest mean improvement in FEV(1) (+7.3%+/-3.3 s.d.) over the baseline pre-treatment value after 36 weeks of treatment (anova p<0.001), being FEV(1) unchanged after 52 weeks of treatment in SM group (+0.33%+/-2.4 s.d.) and with a substantial decrease following P (-2.6%+/-1.2 s.d.) (anova p<0.001). Morning PEF (l/min) increased in subjects treated with SM&FP (anova p<0.001), while it remained unchanged in SM and P group (in both, anova p=ns). After 52 weeks of treatment, only subjects treated with SM&FP showed a reduction of the daily symptoms score from 3.6+/-0.7 to 2.0+/-0.2 s.d. (anova p=0.008). Daily beta(2) short acting prn consumption was reduced only in SM&FP group from 4.2+/-0.81 to 2.2+/-1.2 s.d. after 52 weeks (anova p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: SM&FP 50/250 microcg regularly assumed in combination via a single Diskus inhaler for a 52 week period improves respiratory function (such as FEV(1), morning PEF), and and symptom score significantly in moderate COPD previously treated with theophylline, and at an higher extent than SM alone or P. The use of beta(2) short acting prn is also reduced, together with the number of exacerbations.

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