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Tuesday 01 May 2001

In patients with COPD, treatment with a combination of formoterol and ipratropium is more effective than a combination of salbutamol and ipratropium : a 3-week, randomized, double-blind, within-patient, multicenter study.

By: D'Urzo AD, De Salvo MC, Ramirez-Rivera A, Almeida J, Sichletidis L, Rapatz G, Kottakis J; FOR-INT-03 Study Group.

Chest 2001 May;119(5):1347-56

STUDY OBJECTIVES: To compare the efficacy of adding formoterol or salbutamol to regular ipratropium bromide treatment in COPD patients whose conditions were suboptimally controlled with ipratropium bromide alone. DESIGN: A randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, two-period, crossover clinical trial. SETTING: Twenty-four clinics and university medical centers in nine countries. PATIENTS: One hundred seventy-two patients with baseline FEV(1) < or = 65% predicted, with FEV(1) reversibility to salbutamol not exceeding the normal variability of the measurement, and symptomatic despite regular treatment with ipratropium bromide. INTERVENTIONS: Each patient received two treatments in random order: either inhaled formoterol dry powder, 12 microg bid, in addition to ipratropium bromide, 40 microg qid for 3 weeks, followed by salbutamol, 200 microg qid, in addition to ipratropium, 40 microg qid for 3 weeks, or vice versa. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Efficacy end points included morning premedication peak expiratory flow (PEF) during the last week of treatment (primary end point), the area under the curve (AUC) for FEV(1) measured for 6 h after morning dose on the last day of treatment, and symptom scores (from daily diary recordings). Morning PEF and the AUC for FEV(1) were significantly better for formoterol/ipratropium than for salbutamol/ipratropium (p = 0.0003 and p < 0.0001, respectively). The formoterol/ipratropium combination also induced a greater improvement in mean total symptom scores (p = 0.0042). The safety profile of the two treatments was comparable. CONCLUSIONS: In COPD patients requiring combination bronchodilator treatment, the addition of formoterol to regular ipratropium treatment is more effective than the addition of salbutamol.

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