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Monday 01 January 2001

A randomized, 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study comparing formoterol dry powder inhaler with albuterol metered-dose inhaler.

By: Bensch G, Lapidus RJ, Levine BE, Lumry W, Yegen U, Kiselev P, Della Cioppa G.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2001 Jan;86(1):19-27

BACKGROUND: Formoterol is a beta2-adrenergic agent which, when inhaled, produces rapid and long-lasting bronchodilatation. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of formoterol powder for inhalation delivered via the Aerolizer device with placebo and with albuterol delivered via metered-dose inhaler in patients with mild to moderate persistent asthma. METHODS: In a multicenter, double-blind, parallel-group study, 541 patients were randomized at 26 trial sites to receive either formoterol, 12 microg twice daily; formoterol, 24 microg twice daily; albuterol, 180 microg four times daily; or a placebo for 12 weeks. The effects of each treatment on lung function, asthma symptoms, and frequency of rescue albuterol use were evaluated. Adverse effects and clinical laboratory parameters were also evaluated. RESULTS: The bronchodilatory effects of formoterol were rapid in onset and persisted for 12 hours. Both formoterol doses were more effective than placebo and albuterol for objective measures of lung function. Morning and evening peak expiratory flow rates were more improved with formoterol, and formoterol provided significantly greater improvements in asthma symptom scores compared with both albuterol and placebo. Overall, patients taking formoterol used significantly less rescue medication than did those taking albuterol or placebo. Nocturnal awakenings occurred less often with formoterol than with placebo or albuterol. The therapeutic effects of formoterol were maintained over the entire 12 weeks of treatment. Adverse events were similar for all treatment groups, and clinical laboratory data were unremarkable. CONCLUSIONS: Rapid-onset, long-acting formoterol, administered via the Aerolizer inhaler, is an effective and safe treatment for patients with mild to moderate persistent asthma.

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