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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. T.Schermer@hag.umcn.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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.

OBJECTIVES:

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.

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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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