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Eur Respir J. 1995 Apr;8(4):579-86.

High dose fluticasone propionate, 1 mg daily, versus fluticasone propionate, 2 mg daily, or budesonide, 1.6 mg daily, in patients with chronic severe asthma. International Study Group.

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East Birmingham Hospital, UK.


Airway inflammation is now regarded as fundamental in the pathogenesis of asthma and treatment with inhaled corticosteroids has proved effective. There is a need for drugs in this category with higher topical potency but fewer side-effects than those presently available. A double-blind, parallel group study was conducted in 671 patients with severe asthma (already taking between 0.8-2.0 mg of inhaled corticosteroid daily) to compare the safety and efficacy of 6 weeks of treatment with inhaled fluticasone propionate (FP), 1 mg daily, to fluticasone propionate, 2 mg daily, and budesonide (BUD), 1.6 mg daily, delivered via a metered-dose inhaler. Peak expiratory flow (PEF), asthma symptoms, and usage of rescue medication were recorded daily by the patient. At each clinic visit (-2, 0, 3 and 6 weeks) morning serum cortisol levels, bone markers and spirometry were assessed. The changes in mean morning PEF from baseline (weeks 1-6) were: FP 2 mg daily +24 l.min-1; FP 1 mg daily +21 l.min-1; BUD 1.6 mg daily +13 l.min-1. A similar rank order for the three treatments was seen for evening PEF, clinic spirometry, reduction of diurnal PEF variation, symptom scores, and requirement for rescue bronchodilators. The mean serum cortisol levels remained well within the normal range in all three groups. Analysis of the geometric mean cortisol ratio (treatment/baseline ratio after 6 weeks treatment) showed a changed rank order, the values being: FP 1 mg daily 1.04; BUD 1.6 mg daily 0.97; FP 2 mg daily 0.88.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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