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Monday 01 September 2003

Retrospective comparison of nebulized levalbuterol and albuterol for adverse events in patients with acute airflow obstruction.

By: Scott VL, Frazee LA.

Am J Ther 2003 Sep-Oct;10(5):341-7

The objective of this study was to retrospectively compare the mean change in heart rate (HR) of patients with acute airflow obstruction treated with nebulized levalbuterol vs. albuterol. The study was conducted at the Akron General Medical Center, a 537-bed adult tertiary care teaching and research medical center. The participants were patients (> or = 18 years old) presenting to the emergency department with acute airflow obstruction. This was a retrospective chart review. Treatment groups received either levalbuterol (0.63 mg) or albuterol (2.5 mg). Respiratory care notes record HRs before and after nebulization of levalbuterol or albuterol. Primary analysis was conducted on days 1 and 3 of therapy to determine whether there is a difference between levalbuterol and albuterol with regard to mean change in HR with each treatment. In the primary analysis data, 35 subjects in each treatment group were compared. The mean age (+/- SD) was 65 +/- 16.4 and 68 +/- 16.5 for levalbuterol and albuterol, respectively. On day 1 of therapy, the difference in the mean change in HR with albuterol compared with levalbuterol was 1.0 bpm (95% CI, -1.6 to 3.7). On day 3, a statistically significant difference occurred in mean change in HR between treatment groups at 2.7 bpm (95% CI, 0.02 to 5.4). An increase in HR of 2.7 bpm by albuterol compared with levalbuterol on day 3 of therapy was the only significant finding among the analyses. However, this finding did not demonstrate dangerous elevations in HR following treatment with albuterol. Even the upper end of the confidence interval range at 5.4 bpm does not support a clinically significant difference in tachycardia with the pure isomer compared with the racemic mixture during acute airway obstruction.

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