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Effects on small airway obstruction of long-term treatments with beclomethasone/formoterol hydrofluoroalkane (metered-dose inhaler) versus fluticasone/salmeterol (dry-powder inhaler) in asthma: A preliminary study

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New formulations of extrafine particles of long-acting beta-2 agonists plus inhaled corticosteroids (LABA + ICS) have been shown to reach peripheral regions of the lung. The aim of the study was to assess the effect on small airway obstruction of long-term treatments with two different LABA + ICS formulations in asthma. Ten subjects with moderate persistent asthma were enrolled. After a 4-week washout period they were treated in a randomized crossover design for 24 weeks with formoterol, 12 micrograms, and beclomethasone, 200 micrograms, hydrofluoroalkane (HFA; by metered-dose inhaler) b.i.d. (FB) or salmeterol, 50 micrograms, and fluticasone, 250 micrograms (by dry-powder inhaler), b.i.d. (SF). At baseline and at the end of each period subjects underwent an Asthma Control Test (ACT) and Pulmonary Function Testing. The N2 phase III slope and closing volume (CV) during single-breath washout test and difference between the maximal expiratory flow rates with air and heliox at isovolume corresponding to 50% [Delta(heliox-air)MEF50%] were measured to assess changes on peripheral airways function. Two subjects dropped out and eight completed the study. After SF and FB, forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1; p < 0.01) and FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC; p < 0.01 for SF and p < 0.05 for FB) increased when compared with baseline. Although both FB and SF treatments slightly increased delta(heliox-air)MEF50% isovolume versus baseline, only after FB the N2 phase III slope and CV decreased from 1.61 ± 0.61%/L to 1.35 ± 0.49 N2%/L (p = 0.054) and from 0.98 ± 0.56 L to 0.88 ± 0.58 L (p < 0.05), respectively. ACT score raised from 19 ± 5 (baseline) to 23 ± 1 after FB (p < 0.02) and 23 ± 2 after SF (p < 0.05). When compared with baseline and in contrast to SF (50/250 micrograms b.i.d.), FB HFA (12/200 micrograms b.i.d.) significantly improved functional parameters reflecting small airway obstruction in asthmatic patients. Registered in the public trial registry at identifier: NCT01255579.
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Keywords: Asthma; HFA; closing volume; combination therapy; extrafine formulation; inhaled corticosteroids; lung function; particle size; small airways; treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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