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Fam Pract. 2007 Apr;24(2):181-8. Epub 2007 Jan 23.

Lower inhaled steroid requirement with a fluticasone/salmeterol combination in family practice patients with asthma or COPD.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



Previous studies on inhaled steroid and long-acting beta2-agonist combination products may not be representative for the asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients in family practice.


To compare in a group of doctor-diagnosed patients with asthma or COPD, the effects of a lower dose of fluticasone in a combination product with salmeterol with conventional treatment (i.e. a higher dose of fluticasone), both supplemented with as-needed use of a short-acting bronchodilator.


The study was a 12-week multicentre, randomized controlled, double-blind trial. In all, 41 family practices recruited 137 patients diagnosed with asthma and 40 patients diagnosed with COPD. Primary outcome was the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) as percentage of predicted. Morning peak expiratory flow (PEF), symptom-free days, health status [Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) and St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ)], exacerbations, use of short-acting bronchodilators and adverse events were secondary outcomes.


FEV1% predicted increased 2.6% (SD 8.3) in fluticasone/salmeterol- and 0.01% (SD 6.6) in fluticasone-treated patients (overall: P=0.036, asthma: P=0.025 and COPD: P=0.700). PEF increased in favour of fluticasone/salmeterol in asthma patients only (P=0.016). Fluticasone/salmeterol-treated asthma patients had 1.1 more symptom-free days per week (P=0.044); no such effect was observed for COPD (P=0.769). There were no differences in total AQLQ and SGRQ scores, exacerbations, use of reliever puffs or adverse effects.


In family practice patients diagnosed with asthma, several treatment goals were better achieved with a lower dose of fluticasone and salmeterol in a combination product than with a higher dose of fluticasone. We found no differences between the two approaches for patients with COPD.

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