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Respir Med. 2012 Feb;106(2):257-68. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2011.07.020. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Effect of budesonide/formoterol pMDI on COPD exacerbations: a double-blind, randomized study.

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Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Bldg. 100 (111i), Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Treatment with an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and long-acting bronchodilator is recommended for severe/very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients with repeated exacerbations. This randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel-group, 12-month multicenter study evaluated the effect of budesonide/formoterol pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI) on COPD exacerbations.


Following a 2-week run-in during which COPD patients aged ≥40 years with an exacerbation history discontinued medications except ICSs, 1219 patients were randomized 1:1:1 to twice-daily budesonide/formoterol pMDI 320/9 μg, budesonide/formoterol pMDI 160/9 μg, or formoterol dry powder inhaler 9 μg. An exacerbation was defined as COPD worsening requiring oral corticosteroids and/or hospitalization. A post hoc analysis, with antibiotic treatment added to the exacerbation definition, was also performed.


Budesonide/formoterol 320/9 and 160/9 reduced exacerbation rates (number per patient-treatment year) by 34.6% and 25.9%, respectively, versus formoterol (p ≤ 0.002). Budesonide/formoterol 320/9 prolonged time to first exacerbation versus formoterol, corresponding to a 21.2% reduction in hazard ratio (0.788 [95% CI: 0.639, 0.972]; p = 0.026). Exacerbation rates (number per patient-treatment year) including antibiotic treatment (post hoc analysis) were reduced by 25.9% and 18.7% with budesonide/formoterol 320/9 and 160/9, respectively, versus formoterol (p ≤ 0.023). Both budesonide/formoterol doses were well tolerated with safety profiles similar to formoterol. Pneumonia adverse events occurred in 6.4%, 4.7%, and 2.7% of patients in the budesonide/formoterol 320/9, 160/9, and formoterol groups.


Over 12 months, both budesonide/formoterol doses reduced the exacerbation rate (defined with or without antibiotic treatment) versus formoterol. Budesonide/formoterol pMDI is an appropriate treatment for reducing exacerbations in COPD patients with a history of exacerbations. (NCT00419744).

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