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Tuesday 01 July 2003

Effects of low dose fluticasone/salmeterol combination on surrogate inflammatory markers in moderate persistent asthma.

By: Currie GP, Syme-Grant NJ, McFarlane LC, Carey FA, Lipworth BJ.

Allergy 2003 Jul;58(7):602-7

BACKGROUND: Noninvasive surrogate markers provide valuable information on the asthmatic inflammatory process. We wished to examine the effects of low dose fluticasone/salmeterol combination on different commonly used inflammatory markers in moderate persistent asthma. METHODS: Twenty-five moderate persistent atopic asthmatics were enrolled of whom 20 completed an open label study. Following an initial 4 week steroid washout period in which patients took salmeterol 50 microg dry powder inhaler 1 puff BD, they received the addition of fluticasone as fluticasone 100 microg/salmeterol 50 microg combination dry powder inhaler 1 puff BD for the next 2 weeks. Exhaled nitric oxide, spirometry, methacholine PD20, sputum/blood eosinophils and sputum/serum eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) were measured following the salmeterol only and fluticasone/salmeterol combination treatment periods. RESULTS: Compared to salmeterol alone (i.e. after the steroid washout), the use of fluticasone/salmeterol combination conferred significant improvements (P < 0.05) in all surrogate markers of inflammation apart from serum ECP. Geometric mean fold changes were 4.3-fold/1.3-fold for sputum/blood eosinophils, 2.2-fold/1.2-fold for sputum/serum ECP, 2.3-fold for methacholine PD20 and 1.8-fold for exhaled nitric oxide. CONCLUSIONS: Surrogate markers apart from serum ECP may be used as a guide to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of low dose inhaled corticosteroids. Sputum markers tend to be more sensitive than blood when assessing the anti-inflammatory response.

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