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Respir Med. 1998 Jun;92 Suppl A:33-9.

Safety of hydrofluoroalkane-134a beclomethasone dipropionate extrafine aerosol.

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Department of Medicine, University of Western Australia.


Herein we assess the safety of an inhaled formulation of beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) which uses the propellant hydrofluoroalkane-134a (HFA) for the treatment of asthma. Acute local tolerability (as assessed by the incidence of cough and mean forced expiratory volume after 1 s inhalation) was similar for both BDP and placebo formulated in either chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) or HFA propellants. A total of 43 patients were treated with HFA-BDP (0, 200, 400 or 800 micrograms day-1) or CFC-BDP (800 micrograms day-1) for 14 days and their 24 h urinary free cortisol (UFC) excretion and response to cosyntropin stimulation were measured. There was no difference in UFC between any of the doses of HFA-BDP and CFC-BDP. Adrenal responsiveness to cosyntropin stimulation was normal in all but one patient. Two large 12 week phase III trials compared HFA-placebo, HFA-BDP 400 micrograms day-1 and CFC-BDP 800 micrograms day-1 (n = 347), and HFA-BDP 800 micrograms day-1 and CFC-BDP 1500 micrograms day-1 (n = 233). For HFA-BDP at either dose, CFC-BDP 800 micrograms day-1 and HFA-placebo, the number of patients with morning plasma cortisol concentrations below normal was less than 4.4% but was 14.6% for CFC-BDP 1500 micrograms day-1. The incidence of adverse events was lower in the HFA-BDP groups than in the CFC-BDP groups (P = 0.012). The data indicate that, at doses of up to 800 micrograms day-1, HFA-BDP is at least as well tolerated as CFC-BDP. Other studies have found that equivalent efficacy is reached at lower doses of HFA-BDP than CFC-BDP. Equivalent efficacy at a lower dose and equivalent safety at the same dose imply that HFA-BDP may have a more favourable risk: benefit ratio than CFC-BDP when used at the recommended lower doses.

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