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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2000 Nov;85(5):398-406.

Fluticasone propionate versus zafirlukast: effect in patients previously receiving inhaled corticosteroid therapy.

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Allergy, Asthma and Respiratory Care Center, Inc, Long Beach, California 90806, USA.



The use of inhaled corticosteroids compared with leukotriene modifying drugs in the treatment of persistent asthma has not been extensively studied.


To compare the efficacy and safety of a low dose of fluticasone propionate (FP) and zafirlukast in patients previously maintained on inhaled corticosteroids.


Patients (> or = 12 years old; FEV1 = 60% to 85% of predicted) with persistent asthma who were previously treated with low doses of triamcinolone acetonide (TAA) 400 to 800 microg/day or beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) 168 to 336 microg/day were randomized to treatment with FP aerosol 88 microg BID (FP, n = 221) or zafirlukast 20 mg BID (n = 216) over 6 weeks.


Treatment with FP significantly increased the mean change at endpoint (the last post-baseline observation) in FEV1 (0.22 L versus 0.03 L, P < .001), morning PEF (17.8 versus 3.1 L/min, P = .004), evening PEF (16.7 versus 2.6 L/min, P = .002), the percentage of symptom-free days (16.2 versus 7.1%, P = .007), and the percentage of rescue-free days (23.4 versus 9.3%, P < .001), and significantly decreased rescue albuterol use (-0.66 puffs/day versus an increase of 0.27 puffs/day, P < .001) and combined symptom scores (-0.13 versus an increase of 0.08, P < .001) compared with zafirlukast. Treatment with FP maintained the percentage of awakening-free nights (-1.0 +/- 1.0); in contrast, treatment with zafirlukast reduced the percentage of awakening-free nights (-9.0 +/- 1.6, P < .001). A clinically meaningful difference (change of > or = 0.5; P < .001) was observed between FP and zafirlukast in the Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) global score and for each domain score except activity limitation (change of 0.3, P < .001). Significantly more patients in the zafirlukast group experienced an asthma exacerbation (n = 14) compared with FP-treated patients (n = 5, P = .035). Patients in the zafirlukast group were significantly more likely to be withdrawn due to lack of efficacy (P < .001).


Switching patients from low doses of inhaled corticosteroids to a lower total microgram dose of FP improves pulmonary function, asthma symptoms, and quality of life, while switching to the leukotriene receptor antagonist zafirlukast may result in worsening of asthma control. This was indicated by the significant number of zafirlukast-treated patients who were dropped from the study due to lack of efficacy within 6 weeks of discontinuing inhaled corticosteroids.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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