Efficacy and tolerability of salmeterol/fluticasone propionate versus montelukast in childhood asthma: A prospective, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel-group study

Jorge Maspero, Frances Guerra, Francisco Cuevas, Jose Pablo Gutierrez, Mario Soto-Ramos, Sally Anderton, Daniel Mechali, Robert Chan, Søren Pedersen
Clinical Therapeutics 2008, 30 (8): 1492-504

BACKGROUND: Asthma control remains suboptimal in adults and children worldwide. Inhaled salmeterol/fluticasone propionate combination (SFC) and oral montelukast (MON) are 2 treatments available for childhood asthma.

OBJECTIVE: This study, the PEdiatric Asthma Control Evaluation (PEACE), investigated the efficacy and tolerability of SFC compared with MON for the control of persistent asthma in children.

METHODS: Children with asthma (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV(1)] 55%-80% predicted; reversibility >or=12%) aged 6 to 14 years who were receiving only short-acting beta(2)-agonists entered a 2-week run-in period. Symptomatic patients (rescue use or symptoms during 4 of the last 7 days) were randomized to double-blind, double-dummy treatment with SFC 50/100 microg BID via multidose dry powder inhaler or MON 5-mg tablet QD for 12 weeks. The primary end point was change from baseline in morning peak expiratory flow (PEF). Efficacy assessments included lung function, asthma symptoms, rescue medication use, and asthma control. Tolerability was assessed by recording the number and type of adverse events (AEs) and the number of asthma exacerbations.

RESULTS: Of 607 patients screened, 548 were randomized to treatment. The SFC group contained 281 patients and the MON group included 267. Demographic characteristics and baseline data were similar for both groups (mean age, 9.3 years for both groups; mean [SD] FEV(1), 1.49 [0.43] L in the SFC group and 1.48 [0.43] L in the MON group). There were more males in the MON group (179 [67%]) than in the SFC group (156 [56%]). The adjusted mean (SE) changes from baseline in morning PEF were 45.88 (2.82) L/min with SFC and 28.7 (2.86) L/min with MON (treatment difference, 17.16 L/min; 95% CI, 9.23-25.08; P < 0.001). Compared with MON, the SFC group had significantly more asthma symptom-free days (odds ratio [OR], 1.74; 95% CI, 1.07-2.82; P = 0.025), more rescue-free days (OR, 3.24; 95% CI, 2.09-5.02; P < 0.001), and more asthma-controlled weeks (difference in treatment medians over weeks 1-12, 16.77%; 95% CI, 8.3-16.77; P < 0.001). Both treatments were well tolerated, with a similar number of patients reporting AEs (SFC group, 155/281 [55%]; MON group, 153/267 [57%]); the most common AE in both groups was headache (SFC group, 66 [23%]; MON group, 72 [27%]). The mean exacerbation rates over 12 weeks (post hoc analysis) were 0.12 in the SFC group and 0.30 in the MON group (SFC/MON ratio, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.29-0.57; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: In these children with uncontrolled asthma previously on short-acting beta(2)-agonist monotherapy (% predicted FEV(1) <80%, frequent asthma symptoms and rescue medication use), treatment with SFC was significantly more effective in improving morning PEF and other measures of asthma control and in decreasing exacerbation rates (in a post hoc analysis) than treatment with MON. The 2 drugs were both well tolerated, with similar numbers and types of AEs reported.

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