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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2012 Jul;109(1):65-70. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2012.05.006. Epub 2012 Jun 1.

Salmeterol and fluticasone in young children with multiple-trigger wheeze.

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Department of Allergy, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.



Treatment guidelines recommend using an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) plus a long-acting β(2)-agonist (LABA) for childhood asthma when the symptoms are not controlled by ICS alone, but the appropriate use of LABAs in children continues to be debated.


To compare the efficacy of an inhaled salmeterol and fluticasone propionate combination, 50/100 μg twice daily, with fluticasone propionate, 100 μg twice daily, or salmeterol, 50 μg twice daily, in children with multiple-trigger wheeze.


A total of 105 children 4 to 7 years of age with multiple-trigger wheezing based on respiratory symptoms and bronchodilator responsiveness and/or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction without a viral cold were randomized to salmeterol-fluticasone, fluticasone propionate alone, or salmeterol alone via a metered-dose inhaler and a spacer device for 8 weeks. The primary efficacy outcome was exhaled nitric oxide level. Secondary outcomes were lung function measurements via impulse oscillometry, respiratory symptoms, and rescue medication use.


The exhaled nitric oxide levels decreased after all treatments, significantly more so after salmeterol-fluticasone and fluticasone than with salmeterol (adjusted geometric means at 8 weeks: salmeterol-fluticasone, 9.4 ppb; fluticasone, 9.3 ppb; salmeterol, 13.9 ppb; salmeterol-fluticasone vs salmeterol, P = .02; fluticasone vs salmeterol, P = .01). No treatment differences were found with respect to respiratory symptoms or median rescue use. Salmeterol-fluticasone resulted in a small but statistically significant improvement in baseline lung function compared with fluticasone. All treatments were equally well tolerated.


The effects of salmeterol-fluticasone and fluticasone were comparable, although lung function improvement was better with salmeterol-fluticasone than with fluticasone alone. There is no obvious benefit in initiation therapy with salmeterol-fluticasone rather than fluticasone alone in the treatment of steroid-naive children with multiple-trigger wheeze.


Pathway of clinical trial registry of Helsinki University:;28;2530;9899;9900;23618;23903;33578.

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