Alberto Papi , MD, FERS , 1 , Adel H. Mansur , PhD, FRCP 2 , Tetyana Pertseva , MD, PhD 3 , Kirsten Kaiser , MD, PhD 4 , Tammy McIver , MSc, CStat, CSci 5 , Birgit Grothe , Dipl Biol 6 , Sanjeeva Dissanayake , MRCP, MSc 6
01 August 2016
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.