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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1997 Feb; 43(2): 155–161.
PMCID: PMC2042734

Pharmacokinetics and systemic effects of inhaled fluticasone propionate in healthy subjects


Aims The present study was undertaken to see whether the difference in plasma cortisol suppression between single and repeated dosing of fluticasone propionate (FP) can be explained by systemic accumulation.

Methods Twelve healthy subjects (six women) were given, in a crossover fashion, a single dose inhalation (1000 &;mgr;g) of FP via Diskhaler and repeated inhalations (1000 &;mgr;g twice daily) every 12 h during 7 days. There was a washout period of 2 weeks between the treatments. An intravenous dose of 20 μg FP was given as a reference. Plasma concentrations of FP for each treatment were determined by liquid chromatography plus tandem mass spectrometry. Plasma cortisol after the inhaled doses was determined using an immunoassay and was compared with baseline values.

Results The average plasma concentration of FP was about 1.7 times higher after multiple inhalations than after a single dose. Systemic availability, mainly attributable to pulmonary deposition, was 15.6 [13.6–18.0]% of the nominal dose. Daytime plasma cortisol suppression vs baseline was 47 [20–65]% and 95 [93–97]% for the single and repeated doses, respectively.

Conclusions To conclude, a slow elimination of FP leads to accumulation during repeated dosing. This accumulation may explain the marked decrease in plasma cortisol seen during treatment with fluticasone propionate within the clinical dose range.

Keywords: fluticasone propionate, Diskhaler, systemic availability, cortisol suppression

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