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Ann Intern Med. 1993 May 15;118(10):770-8.

Slowing the deterioration of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease observed during bronchodilator therapy by adding inhaled corticosteroids. A 4-year prospective study.

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Department of Family Medicine, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



To determine if deterioration in patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during bronchodilator therapy could be slowed by additional treatment with an inhaled corticosteroid.


A 4-year prospective study.


Twenty-nine general practices in the catchment area of the University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.


The study included 56 patients (28 with asthma and 28 with COPD) who showed an annual decrease in the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) of at least 80 mL in combination with at least two exacerbations per year during bronchodilator therapy alone. Forty-eight patients completed the study.


During the first 2 years of treatment, patients received only bronchodilator therapy (salbutamol, 400 micrograms, or ipratropium bromide, 40 micrograms). During years 3 and 4, they received additional treatment with beclomethasone dipropionate, 400 micrograms two times daily.


Prebronchodilator FEV1 increased 458 mL/y (95% CI, 233 to 683 mL/y) during the first 6 months of beclomethasone treatment; FEV1 then decreased 102 mL/y (CI, 57 to 147 mL/y) during months 7 to 24. The annual decline in FEV1 during beclomethasone treatment was less than the decline of 160 mL/y seen before beclomethasone therapy (difference, 58 mL/y; 95% CI, 2 to 87 mL/y). Only in patients with asthma did beclomethasone treatment improve bronchial hyperresponsiveness (assessed by determining the concentration of histamine that provoked a 20% decrease in FEV1 [PC20]) by 3.0 doubling doses per year (95% CI, 0.8 to 5.2 doses per year). Beclomethasone treatment was associated with improvement in peak expiratory flow rate, alleviation of symptoms, and a decrease in the number of exacerbations in both patient groups.


Adding beclomethasone, 800 micrograms daily, slowed the unfavorable course of asthma or COPD seen with bronchodilator therapy alone. This effect was most evident in asthmatic patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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