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Concept: Formoterol


Background Concerns remain about the safety of adding long-acting β2-agonists to inhaled glucocorticoids for the treatment of asthma. In a postmarketing safety study mandated by the Food and Drug Administration, we evaluated whether the addition of formoterol to budesonide maintenance therapy increased the risk of serious asthma-related events in patients with asthma. Methods In this multicenter, double-blind, 26-week study, we randomly assigned patients, 12 years of age or older, who had persistent asthma, were receiving daily asthma medication, and had had one to four asthma exacerbations in the previous year to receive budesonide-formoterol or budesonide alone. Patients with a history of life-threatening asthma were excluded. The primary end point was the first serious asthma-related event (a composite of adjudicated death, intubation, and hospitalization), as assessed in a time-to-event analysis. The noninferiority of budesonide-formoterol to budesonide was defined as an upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for the risk of the primary safety end point of less than 2.0. The primary efficacy end point was the first asthma exacerbation, as assessed in a time-to-event analysis. Results A total of 11,693 patients underwent randomization, of whom 5846 were assigned to receive budesonide-formoterol and 5847 to receive budesonide. A serious asthma-related event occurred in 43 patients who were receiving budesonide-formoterol and in 40 patients who were receiving budesonide (hazard ratio, 1.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.70 to 1.65]); budesonide-formoterol was shown to be noninferior to budesonide alone. There were two asthma-related deaths, both in the budesonide-formoterol group; one of these patients had undergone an asthma-related intubation. The risk of an asthma exacerbation was 16.5% lower with budesonide-formoterol than with budesonide (hazard ratio, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.74 to 0.94; P=0.002). Conclusions Among adolescents and adults with predominantly moderate-to-severe asthma, treatment with budesonide-formoterol was associated with a lower risk of asthma exacerbations than budesonide and a similar risk of serious asthma-related events. (Funded by AstraZeneca; number, NCT01444430 .).

Concepts: Asthma, Interval finite element, Glucocorticoid, Randomness, Confidence interval, Formoterol, AstraZeneca, Budesonide


Background Most guidelines recommend either a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) plus an inhaled glucocorticoid or a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) as the first-choice treatment for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who have a high risk of exacerbations. The role of treatment with a LABA-LAMA regimen in these patients is unclear. Methods We conducted a 52-week, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, noninferiority trial. Patients who had COPD with a history of at least one exacerbation during the previous year were randomly assigned to receive, by inhalation, either the LABA indacaterol (110 μg) plus the LAMA glycopyrronium (50 μg) once daily or the LABA salmeterol (50 μg) plus the inhaled glucocorticoid fluticasone (500 μg) twice daily. The primary outcome was the annual rate of all COPD exacerbations. Results A total of 1680 patients were assigned to the indacaterol-glycopyrronium group, and 1682 to the salmeterol-fluticasone group. Indacaterol-glycopyrronium showed not only noninferiority but also superiority to salmeterol-fluticasone in reducing the annual rate of all COPD exacerbations; the rate was 11% lower in the indacaterol-glycopyrronium group than in the salmeterol-fluticasone group (3.59 vs. 4.03; rate ratio, 0.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.83 to 0.96; P=0.003). The indacaterol-glycopyrronium group had a longer time to the first exacerbation than did the salmeterol-fluticasone group (71 days [95% CI, 60 to 82] vs. 51 days [95% CI, 46 to 57]; hazard ratio, 0.84 [95% CI, 0.78 to 0.91], representing a 16% lower risk; P<0.001). The annual rate of moderate or severe exacerbations was lower in the indacaterol-glycopyrronium group than in the salmeterol-fluticasone group (0.98 vs. 1.19; rate ratio, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.75 to 0.91; P<0.001), and the time to the first moderate or severe exacerbation was longer in the indacaterol-glycopyrronium group than in the salmeterol-fluticasone group (hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.70 to 0.86; P<0.001), as was the time to the first severe exacerbation (hazard ratio, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.00; P=0.046). The effect of indacaterol-glycopyrronium versus salmeterol-fluticasone on the rate of COPD exacerbations was independent of the baseline blood eosinophil count. The incidence of adverse events and deaths was similar in the two groups. The incidence of pneumonia was 3.2% in the indacaterol-glycopyrronium group and 4.8% in the salmeterol-fluticasone group (P=0.02). Conclusions Indacaterol-glycopyrronium was more effective than salmeterol-fluticasone in preventing COPD exacerbations in patients with a history of exacerbation during the previous year. (Funded by Novartis; FLAME number, NCT01782326 .).

Concepts: Asthma, Pneumonia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Emphysema, Pulmonary hypertension, Inhalation, Formoterol, Salmeterol


After the introduction of the long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) salmeterol for the treatment of asthma, two large trials - the Salmeterol Multicenter Asthma Research Trial (SMART),(1) which was mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and involved 26,000 patients, and the Serevent Nationwide Surveillance (SNS) trial(2) in the United Kingdom, which involved 25,000 patients - showed a higher risk of asthma-related death among patients receiving salmeterol than among those receiving placebo. A second LABA, formoterol, was introduced some years later, and although no such large studies were available for this drug, the aggregate evidence showed that patients taking this drug . . .

Concepts: Asthma, United Kingdom, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Introduction, Formoterol, Salmeterol, Long acting beta-adrenoceptor agonist, Beta-adrenergic agonists


Inhaled long-acting bronchodilators are the mainstay of pharmacotherapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Both the twice-daily long-acting β(2)-adrenoceptor agonists (LABAs) salmeterol and formoterol and the once-daily LABA indacaterol are indicated for use in COPD. This review examines current evidence for the safety of LABAs in COPD, focusing on their effect on exacerbations and deaths.

Concepts: Asthma, Pneumonia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Formoterol, Salmeterol, Long acting beta-adrenoceptor agonist, Beta-adrenergic agonists


The combination of aclidinium bromide, a long-acting anticholinergic, and formoterol fumarate, a long-acting beta2-agonist (400/12 μg twice daily) achieves improvements in lung function greater than either monotherapy in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and is approved in the European Union as a maintenance treatment. The effect of this combination on symptoms of COPD and exacerbations is less well established. We examined these outcomes in a pre-specified analysis of pooled data from two 24-week, double-blind, parallel-group, active- and placebo-controlled, multicentre, randomised Phase III studies (ACLIFORM and AUGMENT).

Concepts: Pulmonology, Asthma, Lung, Pneumonia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Emphysema, Formoterol, Salmeterol


Effects of small-particle long-acting β-agonists on the small airways have been poorly documented.

Concepts: Asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Formoterol, Salmeterol


The study was designed to compare the efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of extra-fine beclomethasone and formoterol, with the fixed combination fluticasone and salmeterol in Taiwanese asthmatic patients.

Concepts: Asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Formoterol, Salbutamol, Salmeterol, Fluticasone/salmeterol


The effectiveness of single-inhaler budesonide/formoterol fumarate combination therapy for asthma has been previously shown for the original product. The aim of this nonrandomized, open-label, postauthorization efficacy study (PAES) real-life clinical assessment was to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of a second product (Bufomix Easyhaler(®)) in the daily clinical practice of asthma therapy.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Asthma, Effectiveness, Bronchus, Bronchiole, Bronchodilator, Formoterol, Budesonide/formoterol


The GOLD 2017 strategy document recommends that the pharmacological management of COPD patients be based on the risk of future exacerbations and the severity of symptoms. A threshold of two moderate exacerbations or one hospitalization is used to define high-risk patients. The FORWARD study was a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group trial that compared 48 weeks' treatment with extrafine beclomethasone dipropionate plus formoterol fumarate (BDP-FF) versus FF in severe COPD patients with a history of one or more exacerbations in the previous year. The new GOLD 2017 recommendations mean that many patients in the FORWARD study are now reclassified as GOLD B. We conducted a post hoc analysis of the FORWARD study, in order to investigate the effects of extrafine BDP/FF in patients with one exacerbation in the previous year, focusing on those categorized as group B using the GOLD 2017 definition. The analysis showed a 35% reduction in exacerbation rate with an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) + long-acting β-agonist (LABA) versus LABA. We propose that ICS-LABA treatment is a therapeutic option for COPD patients with one exacerbation in the previous year.

Concepts: Asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Pharmaceutical drug, Formoterol, Salmeterol, Ipratropium, Beclometasone dipropionate, Beta-adrenergic agonists


To ensure consistency of clinical outcomes, orally inhaled therapies must exhibit consistent delivered dose and aerosol properties at the time of manufacturing, throughout storage, and during various patient-use conditions. Achieving consistency across these scenarios has presented a significant challenge, especially for combination products that contain more than one drug. This study characterized the delivered dose and aerosol properties of glycopyrrolate/formoterol fumarate metered dose inhaler (GFF MDI; Bevespi Aerosphere™). GFF MDI, a fixed-dose combination (FDC) of a long-acting muscarinic antagonist, glycopyrrolate (18 μg, equivalent to glycopyrronium 14.4 μg), and a long-acting β2-agonist, formoterol fumarate (9.6 μg; equivalent to formoterol fumarate dihydrate 10 μg), is formulated using innovative co-suspension delivery technology, which suspends micronized drug crystals with spray-dried phospholipid porous particles in hydrofluoroalkane propellant. In this study, delivered dose uniformity was assessed through the labeled number of doses, and aerosol properties, such as percent fine particle fraction (FPF) and mass median aerodynamic diameter, were determined by cascade impaction. GFF MDI achieved reproducible dose delivery and an FPF greater than 55%, whether formulated and delivered as a monocomponent or dual FDC. The performance of GFF MDI was maintained across various manufacturing batches, under extended storage, and with variations in flow rate. Furthermore, unlike a GFF drug crystal-only suspension, drug delivery remained consistent for GFF MDI when simulated patient-handling errors were applied, such as reduced shake energy and delays between shaking and actuation. These results demonstrate that co-suspension delivery technology overcomes well-known sources of variability in MDI drug delivery.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Asthma, Dose, Shake, Metered-dose inhaler, Formoterol, Dosage forms, Consistency