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      Long-Term Fluticasone Propionate/Formoterol Fumarate Combination Therapy Is Associated with a Low Incidence of Severe Asthma Exacerbations

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          Background: A primary goal of asthma management is the reduction of exacerbation risk. We assessed the occurrence of oral corticosteroid-requiring exacerbations (OCS exacerbations) with long-term fluticasone/formoterol therapy, and compared it with the occurrence of similar events reported with other inhaled corticosteroid/long acting β 2-agonist (ICS/LABA) combinations.

          Methods: The occurrence of OCS exacerbations was assessed in two open-label trials of fixed-dose fluticasone/formoterol administered for between 26 to 60 weeks in adults and adolescents with asthma. The incidence of OCS exacerbations with fluticasone/formoterol was compared with those reported in three recent Cochrane meta-analyses of other ICS/LABAs.

          Results: The pooled incidence of OCS exacerbations with long-term fluticasone/formoterol was 2.1% (95% CI: 1.1, 3.2%, n/N = 16/752). In only two of the nineteen treatment arms summarized by Cochrane did OCS exacerbation incidence approximate that seen in the two fluticasone/formoterol trials (single-inhaler fluticasone/salmeterol [2.9%]; separate inhaler budesonide, beclometasone, or flunisolide plus formoterol [3.4%]). In Lasserson's review the pooled incidence of OCS exacerbations for single-inhaler combinations was 9.5% (95% CI: 8.4, 10.6%; n/N = 239/2516) for fluticasone/salmeterol, and 10.6% (95% CI: 9.3, 11.8%; n/N = 257/2433) for budesonide/formoterol. In Ducharme's and Chauhan's meta-analyses (primarily incorporating separate inhaler combinations [fluticasone, budesonide, beclometasone, or flunisolide plus salmeterol or formoterol]), the pooled incidences of OCS exacerbations were 16.0% (95% CI: 14.2, 17.8%, n/N = 258/1615) and 16.7% (95% CI: 14.9, 18.5, n/N = 275/1643), respectively.

          Conclusions: The incidence of exacerbations in two fixed-dose fluticasone/formoterol studies was low and less than in the majority of comparable published studies involving other ICS/LABA combinations. This difference could not be readily explained by differences in features of the respective studies and may be related to the favorable pharmacological/mechanistic characteristics of the constituent components fluticasone and formoterol compared to other drugs in their respective classes.

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          An official American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society statement: asthma control and exacerbations: standardizing endpoints for clinical asthma trials and clinical practice.

          The assessment of asthma control is pivotal to the evaluation of treatment response in individuals and in clinical trials. Previously, asthma control, severity, and exacerbations were defined and assessed in many different ways. The Task Force was established to provide recommendations about standardization of outcomes relating to asthma control, severity, and exacerbations in clinical trials and clinical practice, for adults and children aged 6 years or older. A narrative literature review was conducted to evaluate the measurement properties and strengths/weaknesses of outcome measures relevant to asthma control and exacerbations. The review focused on diary variables, physiologic measurements, composite scores, biomarkers, quality of life questionnaires, and indirect measures. The Task Force developed new definitions for asthma control, severity, and exacerbations, based on current treatment principles and clinical and research relevance. In view of current knowledge about the multiple domains of asthma and asthma control, no single outcome measure can adequately assess asthma control. Its assessment in clinical trials and in clinical practice should include components relevant to both of the goals of asthma treatment, namely achievement of best possible clinical control and reduction of future risk of adverse outcomes. Recommendations are provided for the assessment of asthma control in clinical trials and clinical practice, both at baseline and in the assessment of treatment response. The Task Force recommendations provide a basis for a multicomponent assessment of asthma by clinicians, researchers, and other relevant groups in the design, conduct, and evaluation of clinical trials, and in clinical practice.
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            Mepolizumab for severe eosinophilic asthma (DREAM): a multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

            Some patients with severe asthma have recurrent asthma exacerbations associated with eosinophilic airway inflammation. Early studies suggest that inhibition of eosinophilic airway inflammation with mepolizumab-a monoclonal antibody against interleukin 5-is associated with a reduced risk of exacerbations. We aimed to establish efficacy, safety, and patient characteristics associated with the response to mepolizumab. We undertook a multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial at 81 centres in 13 countries between Nov 9, 2009, and Dec 5, 2011. Eligible patients were aged 12-74 years, had a history of recurrent severe asthma exacerbations, and had signs of eosinophilic inflammation. They were randomly assigned (in a 1:1:1:1 ratio) to receive one of three doses of intravenous mepolizumab (75 mg, 250 mg, or 750 mg) or matched placebo (100 mL 0·9% NaCl) with a central telephone-based system and computer-generated randomly permuted block schedule stratified by whether treatment with oral corticosteroids was required. Patients received 13 infusions at 4-week intervals. The primary outcome was the rate of clinically significant asthma exacerbations, which were defined as validated episodes of acute asthma requiring treatment with oral corticosteroids, admission, or a visit to an emergency department. Patients, clinicians, and data analysts were masked to treatment assignment. Analyses were by intention to treat. This trial is registered with, number NCT01000506. 621 patients were randomised: 159 were assigned to placebo, 154 to 75 mg mepolizumab, 152 to 250 mg mepolizumab, and 156 to 750 mg mepolizumab. 776 exacerbations were deemed to be clinically significant. The rate of clinically significant exacerbations was 2·40 per patient per year in the placebo group, 1·24 in the 75 mg mepolizumab group (48% reduction, 95% CI 31-61%; p<0·0001), 1·46 in the 250 mg mepolizumab group (39% reduction, 19-54%; p=0·0005), and 1·15 in the 750 mg mepolizumab group (52% reduction, 36-64%; p<0·0001). Three patients died during the study, but the deaths were not deemed to be related to treatment. Mepolizumab is an effective and well tolerated treatment that reduces the risk of asthma exacerbations in patients with severe eosinophilic asthma. GlaxoSmithKline. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Asthma exacerbations and sputum eosinophil counts: a randomised controlled trial.

              Treatment decisions in asthma are based on assessments of symptoms and simple measures of lung function, which do not relate closely to underlying eosinophilic airway inflammation. We aimed to assess whether a management strategy that minimises eosinophilic inflammation reduces asthma exacerbations compared with a standard management strategy. We recruited 74 patients with moderate to severe asthma from hospital clinics and randomly allocated them to management either by standard British Thoracic Society asthma guidelines (BTS management group) or by normalisation of the induced sputum eosinophil count and reduction of symptoms (sputum management group). We assessed patients nine times over 12 months. The results were used to manage those in the sputum management group, but were not disclosed in the BTS group. The primary outcomes were the number of severe exacerbations and control of eosinophilic inflammation, measured by induced sputum eosinophil count. Analyses were by intention to treat. The sputum eosinophil count was 63% (95% CI 24-100) lower over 12 months in the sputum management group than in the BTS management group (p=0.002). Patients in the sputum management group had significantly fewer severe asthma exacerbations than did patients in the BTS management group (35 vs 109; p=0.01) and significantly fewer patients were admitted to hospital with asthma (one vs six, p=0.047). The average daily dose of inhaled or oral corticosteroids did not differ between the two groups. A treatment strategy directed at normalisation of the induced sputum eosinophil count reduces asthma exacerbations and admissions without the need for additional anti-inflammatory treatment.

                Author and article information

                J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv
                J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv
                Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery
                Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (140 Huguenot Street, 3rd FloorNew Rochelle, NY 10801USA )
                01 August 2016
                01 August 2016
                : 29
                : 4
                : 346-361
                [ 1 ]Research Centre on Asthma and COPD, University of Ferrara , Ferrara, Italy.
                [ 2 ]Chest Research Institute, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital , Birmingham, United Kingdom.
                [ 3 ]Dnipropetrovsk State Medical Academy , Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.
                [ 4 ]Medicinal and Regulatory Development , Skyepharma AG, Muttenz, Switzerland.
                [ 5 ]Clinical Data Management and Statistics, Mundipharma Research Limited , Cambridge, United Kingdom.
                [ 6 ]Medical Science—Respiratory, Mundipharma Research Limited , Cambridge, United Kingdom.
                Author notes
                Reviewed by:Paula AndersonFederico Lavorini
                Address correspondence to: Professor Alberto Papi, Research Centre on Asthma and COPD, University of Ferrara Via Savonarola 9, 44121 Ferrara, Italy

                E-mail: ppa@
                © Alberto Papi, et al., 2016. Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

                This Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License ( which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

                Figures: 1, Tables: 4, References: 99, Pages: 16
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