Formoterol fumarate inhalation solution (FFIS; Perforomist ®) is a long-acting β 2-agonist (LABA) marketed in the US as a nebulized COPD maintenance treatment. Because long-term LABA use was associated with a potential increased risk of exacerbation or death in asthma patients, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested a postmarketing commitment study to evaluate long-term safety in COPD patients.
This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, noninferiority study. Patients (N=1,071; mean age, 62.6 years; 48.5% male; 89.7% white) with moderate-to-severe COPD on stable COPD therapy received FFIS (20 µg; n=541) or placebo (n=530) twice daily. The primary end point was the combined incidence of respiratory death, first COPD-related ER visit, or first COPD exacerbation-related hospitalization during 1 year post randomization. Noninferiority to placebo was concluded if the two-sided 90% CI of the HR of FFIS to placebo was <1.5. Secondary end points included spirometry.
The planned 1-year treatment period was completed by 520 patients; 551 discontinued prematurely (FFIS: 45.7%; placebo: 57.4%). The median treatment duration was approximately 10 and 7 months for FFIS and placebo, respectively. Among 1,071 randomized patients, 121 had ≥1 primary event (FFIS: 11.8%; placebo: 10.8%). The estimated HR of a primary event with FFIS vs placebo was 0.965 (90% CI: 0.711, 1.308), demonstrating that FFIS was noninferior to placebo. No respiratory deaths were observed in the FFIS group. Adverse events were similar for FFIS vs placebo (patients with ≥1 treatment-emergent adverse events: 374 [69.1%] vs 369 [69.6%], respectively). Compared with placebo, FFIS demonstrated statistically greater improvements from baseline in trough FEV 1, FVC, percent predicted FEV 1, and patient-reported outcomes (Transition Dyspnea Index).