Flunisolide hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) with integrated spacer is the most recent reformulated inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) for asthma available in the United States. It is the only product that combines a corticosteroid extrafine aerosol with a built-in spacer. The potential clinical benefit
of the flunisolide HFA formulation and its integrated spacer for treating persistent asthma was assessed through a comprehensive review of the published literature and data from the past 10 years focusing on (1) flunisolide, the molecule, and the impact of the HFA reformulation; (2) updated
information on the anti-inflammatory response to flunisolide HFA, particularly in the distal airways; and (3) the usefulness of an integrated spacer. Flunisolide HFA was found effective and safe in clinical studies and comparable with the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) formulation, but at about
one-third the dose of flunisolide CFC, likely reflecting both the device and the particle size of the reformulated product. Compared with the CFC formulation, the extrafine aerosol and smaller particle size of flunisolide HFA substantially increased pulmonary deposition and decreased oropharyngeal
deposition. The integrated spacer further enhanced the pulmonary/oropharyngeal deposition ratio. Examination of lung biopsy specimens indicated a favorable anti-inflammatory response to flunisolide HFA in peripheral airways. Pediatric studies showed no significant effects on growth. The data
indicate that flunisolide HFA is a safe and effective maintenance therapy for asthma patients. The integrated spacer may provide an added advantage for patients, especially those who may be more likely to experience adverse effects of ICSs, both local and systemic, including children susceptible to adverse effects on growth.
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Document Type: Research Article
Division of Basic and Clinical Immunology, University of California, Irvine, California, USA
Publication date: 01 March 2015
This article was made available online on 29 January 2015 as a Fast Track article with title: "Flunisolide hydrofluoroalkane with integrated spacer for treating asthma: An updated review ".
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