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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


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


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


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

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


Glycopyrrolate/formoterol fumarate (GFF) metered dose inhaler (MDI) is a fixed-dose combination of the long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA), glycopyrrolate (GP), and the long-acting β2-agonist (LABA), formoterol fumarate (FF), delivered via metered dose inhaler using innovative co-suspension delivery technology. Here we report the results of two studies that examined the cardiovascular safety of GFF MDI.

Concepts: Asthma, Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, Metered-dose inhaler, Formoterol, Inhaler, Salmeterol, Beta-adrenergic agonists


The budesonide/glycopyrronium/formoterol fumarate dihydrate metered dose inhaler (BGF MDI) is an inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting muscarinic antagonist/long-acting β2-agonist fixed-dose combination formulated with innovative co-suspension delivery technology that is in clinical development for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This randomized, Phase I, single-dose, six-treatment, four-period, crossover study (NCT01980615) examined the pharmacokinetic (PK) and safety profile of three doses of BGF MDI (320/14.4/10 μg [equivalent to budesonide/glycopyrrolate/formoterol fumarate 320/18/9.6 μg], 160/14.4/10 μg and 80/14.4/10 μg), two doses of a budesonide/formoterol fumarate dihydrate fixed-dose combination (BUD/FORM MDI 320/9 μg and 160/9 μg; not using co-suspension delivery technology) and a glycopyrronium/formoterol fumarate dihydrate co-suspension delivery technology MDI (GFF MDI 14.4/10 μg) in healthy volunteers (18-45 years of age). PK parameters included area under the plasma concentration-time curve from 0 to 12 h (AUC0-12), AUC up to the last measurable concentration (AUC0-t), maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and time to maximum plasma concentration (tmax). Safety was monitored throughout the study. Of 84 subjects randomized, 76 completed the study. BGF MDI 320/14.4/10 μg was bioequivalent to BUD/FORM MDI 320/9 μg for budesonide for Cmax, AUC0-12and AUC0-t(primary objective). Dose proportionality was observed for the budesonide component between BGF MDI 80/14.4/10 μg and BGF MDI 160/14.4/10 μg, and between BGF MDI 160/14.4/10 μg and BGF MDI 320/14.4/10 μg. Systemic exposure to glycopyrronium and formoterol after BGF MDI 320/14.4/10 μg treatment was similar to GFF MDI 14.4/10 μg. The rate of adverse events was 3.7-17.9% across treatments without any serious adverse events. In conclusion, BGF MDI 320/14.4/10 μg had a similar budesonide PK profile to BUD/FORM MDI 320/9 μg. No PK drug-drug interactions were observed when budesonide was added to glycopyrronium and formoterol fumarate dihydrate. These data support the use of budesonide 320 μg and 160 μg in future clinical trials of BGF MDI in COPD.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Clinical research, Formoterol, Salmeterol, AstraZeneca


Long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) and long-acting β2-agonist (LABA) bronchodilators are key to the pharmacologic treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This Phase IIb study investigated the safety and efficacy of four doses of the LAMA glycopyrronium (GP) delivered using co-suspension delivery technology via metered dose inhaler (MDI). The study was part of a wider clinical trial program performed to determine the optimal dose of GP MDI, the LABA formoterol fumarate dihydrate (FF) MDI, and glycopyrronium/formoterol fumarate dihydrate (GFF) MDI fixed-dose combination to be taken forward into Phase III studies.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Asthma, The Canon of Medicine, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Clinical research, 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