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Pediatr Pulmonol. 2002 Jul;34(1):11-5.

Effects of salmeterol on arterial oxyhemoglobin saturations in patients with cystic fibrosis.

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Pediatric Division, Cystic Fibrosis Center, San Carlo Hospital, Potenza, Italy.


Sleep-related oxygen desaturation has been described in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Thus we studied the effects of inhaled Salmeterol xinafoate, a long-acting beta-2 agonist, on transcutaneous oxyhemoglobin saturation in sleeping, stable CF patients. Patients with stable CF (n = 23) were divided into responders and nonresponders to beta-2 agonists, based on an albuterol challenge during daytime testing, and then they received salmeterol before sleep, in a double-blind crossover design. Overnight oxyhemoglobin saturation measurements and spirometry on awakening were performed. Salmeterol administration before sleep resulted in statistically significant increases in mean arterial oxyhemoglobin saturation and in FEV(1) and FEF(25-75) on awakening compared to placebo values, but only in patients responding to daytime albuterol inhalation by showing improvement in lung function. We conclude that salmeterol inhalation at bedtime could prevent or reduce nocturnal hypoxemia in daytime albuterol-responsive CF patients, thus improving the long-term clinical outcome of CF lung disease.

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