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      Clinical utility and development of the fluticasone/formoterol combination formulation (Flutiform ®) for the treatment of asthma

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          Pharmacologic treatment of asthma should be done with a stepwise approach recommended in treatment guidelines. If inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) alone are not adequate, ICSs in combination with long-acting β-agonists (LABAs) are now established and widely used as the next step in effective controller therapy. Fixed-dose ICS/LABA combinations in a single device are the preferred form of delivery and improve compliance by enabling patients to get symptom relief from the LABA while receiving the anti-inflammatory benefits of ICSs. Fluticasone propionate/formoterol fumarate is one of the newest fixed-dose combinations. It has been in use in Europe in 2012, but is still under regulatory review in the US. Fluticasone is a synthetic ICS with potent anti-inflammatory effects, while formoterol is a selective β 2-adrenergic receptor agonist with a rapid onset of bronchodilation within 5–10 minutes and a 12-hour duration of action. Fluticasone/formoterol has shown superior efficacy when compared to fluticasone or formoterol alone in multiple well-designed studies. The combination has shown comparable or “noninferior” benefits in lung function, clinical symptoms, and asthma control when compared with fluticasone and formoterol administered concurrently in separate inhalers. Fluticasone/formoterol provides similar efficacy with fluticasone/salmeterol, but with more rapid symptom relief. It has been compared directly with budesonide/formoterol with comparable results. Fluticasone/formoterol is well tolerated, with no unusual or increased safety concerns versus each individual component or other available ICS/LABA combinations. Fluticasone/formoterol is the latest entry into a relatively crowded market of branded fixed-dose preparations. Upcoming generic fixed-dose combinations and once-daily agents pose significant market challenges. In clinical practice, most practitioners consider all the currently available fixed-dose preparations to be of comparable efficacy and safety.

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          Most cited references 44

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          The Salmeterol Multicenter Asthma Research Trial: a comparison of usual pharmacotherapy for asthma or usual pharmacotherapy plus salmeterol.

          To compare the safety of salmeterol xinafoate or placebo added to usual asthma care. A 28-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, observational study. Study subjects were seen once in the study physician's office for screening and were provided all blinded study medication for the entire study period. Follow-up by telephone was scheduled every 4 weeks. Subjects (> 12 years old) with asthma as judged by the study physician were eligible. Individuals with a history of long-acting beta2-agonist use were excluded. Salmeterol, 42 mug bid via metered-dose inhaler (MDI), and placebo bid via MDI. Following an interim analysis in 26,355 subjects, the study was terminated due to findings in African Americans and difficulties in enrollment. The occurrence of the primary outcome, respiratory-related deaths, or life-threatening experiences was low and not significantly different for salmeterol vs placebo (50 vs 36; relative risk [RR] = 1.40; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.91 to 2.14). There was a small, significant increase in respiratory-related deaths (24 vs 11; RR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.06 to 4.41) and asthma-related deaths (13 vs 3; RR, 4.37; 95% CI, 1.25 to 15.34), and in combined asthma-related deaths or life-threatening experiences (37 vs 22; RR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.01 to 2.89) in subjects receiving salmeterol vs placebo. The imbalance occurred largely in the African-American subpopulation: respiratory-related deaths or life-threatening experiences (20 vs 5; RR, 4.10; 95% CI, 1.54 to 10.90) and combined asthma-related deaths or life-threatening experiences (19 vs 4; RR, 4.92; 95% CI, 1.68 to 14.45) in subjects receiving salmeterol vs placebo. For the primary end point in the total population, there were no significant differences between treatments. There were small, but statistically significant increases in respiratory-related and asthma-related deaths and combined asthma-related deaths or life-threatening experiences in the total population receiving salmeterol. Subgroup analyses suggest the risk may be greater in African Americans compared with Caucasian subjects. Whether this risk is due to factors including but not limited to a physiologic treatment effect, genetic factors, or patient behaviors leading to poor outcomes remains unknown.
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            The FDA and safe use of long-acting beta-agonists in the treatment of asthma.

             B Chowdhury,  G. PAN (2010)
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              Scientific rationale for using a single inhaler for asthma control.

               Peter Barnes (2007)
              Clinical trials have recently demonstrated that using a budesonide/formoterol combination inhaler as regular maintenance treatment twice daily but also as a rescue therapy for breakthrough symptoms can provide more effective control of asthma, particularly in reducing exacerbations, than using a short-acting beta2-agonist or formoterol as rescue therapy. This suggests that the corticosteroid component of the combination therapy plays an important role in rescue therapy. Formoterol as a rescue therapy is effective in relieving symptoms by relaxing airway smooth muscle but is also likely to have important inhibitory effects on mast cells, plasma exudation and neutrophilic inflammation. Inhaled corticosteroids have much more rapid suppressing effects on airway inflammation than previously recognised and the increased dose used as rescue therapy may prevent the increase in airway inflammation that occurs during the evolution of an exacerbation, thus preventing its development. It is likely that the molecular interactions between beta2-agonists and corticosteroids also enhance the effect of the combination therapy as rescue therapy. There is now a strong scientific rationale for single inhaler therapy in asthma, but more research is now needed to better understand the mechanisms involved.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                30 September 2014
                : 8
                : 1555-1561
                [1 ]California Allergy and Asthma Medical Group, Los Angeles, CA, USA
                [2 ]David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jonathan Corren, Allergy Medical Clinic 10780 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 280, Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA, Email jcorren@ 123456ucla.edu
                © 2014 Tan and Corren. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.



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