Rational timing of combination therapy with tiotropium and formoterol in moderate and severe COPD

Claudio Terzano, Angelo Petroianni, Vittoria Conti, Daniela Ceccarelli, Elda Graziani, Alessandro Sanduzzi, Serena D'Avelli
Respiratory Medicine 2008, 102 (12): 1701-7

AIM: To determine which timing of therapy with formoterol (FOR) and/or tiotropium (TIO) shows the greater and more continuous functional improvement during 24 h in patients with moderate to severe COPD.

METHODS: In this randomised, blind, crossover study 80 patients with stable COPD (40 moderate and 40 severe) received 5 different bronchodilator 30-day treatments in a random order. Treatments (Tr) were: Tr1: TIO 18 microg once-daily (8 am); Tr2: TIO 18 microg (8 am) + FOR 12 microg (8 pm); Tr3: FOR 12 microg twice-daily (8 am and 8 pm); Tr4: TIO 18 microg (8 am) + FOR 12 microg twice-daily (8 am and 8 pm); Tr5: FOR 12 microg twice-daily (8 am and 8 pm) + TIO 18 microg (8 pm). Spirometries were performed during 24 h (13 steps) on Day1 and Day30. End-points were: gain of FEV(1) (DeltaFEV(1)) from baseline of the Day1 and Day30, AUC (Area Under Curve), Dyspnoea Index, and as-needed use of salbutamol.

RESULTS: Sixty-eight patients completed all treatments. The greater and continuous daily functional improvement was showed during Tr4 and Tr5 (Day1 +135.8 mL and +119.1 mL; Day30 +160.2 mL, and +160.5 mL, respectively). Daily means of DeltaFEV(1) were significantly different between single-drug treatments and combination therapy. Dyspnoea was greater in single-drug treatments. Less use of rescue salbutamol was reported in Tr4 (0.80 puffs/die) and Tr5 (0.71 puffs/die).

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with moderate to severe COPD, combination therapy with tiotropium administered in the morning (Tr4) was the most effective; in patients with prevailing night-symptoms, treatment with tiotropium in the evening (Tr5) reduced symptoms and use of salbutamol. Tr5 showed less variability of FEV(1) during the 24 h (CV=0.256). These results are relevant for opening new ways in clinical practice.

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