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Thursday 01 December 2005

Efficacy of nebulized flunisolide combined with salbutamol and ipratropium bromide in stable patients with moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

By: Paggiaro PL, Vagaggini B, Di Franco A, Zingoni M, Fano M, Biraghi M.

Respiration 2006;73(5):603-9

BACKGROUND: The efficacy of nebulized corticosteroids in the prevention of exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been poorly studied. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of nebulized flunisolide (1 mg) + salbutamol/ipratropium bromide (1,875/375 microg) b.i.d. in comparison with placebo + salbutamol/ipratropium bromide. METHODS: This was a randomized, parallel-group, double-blind study on 114 patients with COPD of moderate-to-severe degree. The main outcome was the frequency of severe exacerbations over a 6-month period. Before and after treatment, respiratory symptoms, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)), shuttle walking test distance and St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire scores were evaluated. RESULTS: The total number of exacerbations was slightly lower in the flunisolide group compared to the placebo group (19 vs. 34, p = 0.054); the number of patients experiencing at least one exacerbation during the study was also decreased (16 vs. 26, p = 0.059). In particular, type 3 Anthonisens's exacerbations were significantly reduced by flunisolide (p = 0.044). In the placebo group, scores were higher than in the flunisolide group but nonsignificant for dyspnea, cough, sputum amount and purulence. FEV(1) was significantly increased compared to baseline in both groups, and the area under the FEV(1)-time curve during the 6-month period was significantly greater in the flunisolide group (5.2 +/- 10.6 vs. 2.1 +/- 5.0, flunisolide vs. placebo, respectively; p = 0.047). For shuttle walking test distance and scores of the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire, no significant difference between the baseline evaluation and the end of the study was observed in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Nebulized flunisolide is a good alternative to other inhaled corticosteroids when added to nebulized salbutamol/ipratropium bromide in the long-term treatment of moderate-to-severe COPD patients.

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