13 August 2018
The Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease strategy document for COPD recommends treatment changes according to the persistence of symptoms or exacerbations. This study assessed the feasibility and outcomes of a structured step-up/step-down treatment approach in a randomized controlled clinical trial setting.
Japanese patients with moderate-to-severe COPD were randomized to blinded, double-dummy treatment with twice-daily fluticasone propionate/salmeterol (FP/SAL) 250/50 µg or once-daily tiotropium bromide (TIO) 18 µg for 24 weeks (dual bronchodilator was not available). At 4-weekly intervals, patients remaining symptomatic (COPD Assessment Test score >10) or experiencing an exacerbation were offered the option to use triple therapy. Primary endpoint was the proportion of patients remaining on randomized therapy.
In total, 406 patients participated (mean FEV 1 59%±13% predicted; COPD Assessment Test 12±6). Of these, 204 and 201 patients were included in the FP/SAL and TIO groups, respectively, of whom 67% and 63% continued treatment throughout the study; this difference was not statistically significant. Time to first therapy switch was longer with FP/SAL, but not significantly ( P=0.21). More patients in Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (2011 criteria) groups C/D switched (FP/SAL 55%, TIO 63%) than in groups A/B (FP/SAL 27%, TIO 27%).