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Thursday 01 June 2000

Dose-response evaluation of levalbuterol versus racemic albuterol in patients with asthma.

By: Handley DA, Tinkelman D, Noonan M, Rollins TE, Snider ME, Caron J.

J Asthma 2000 Jun;37(4):319-27

Albuterol, in all marketed forms, is sold as a racemate, composed of a 50:50 mixture of (R)- and (S)-isomers. Racemic albuterol and the single isomer version (R)-albuterol (levalbuterol) were compared in a randomized, double-blind, dose-ranging five-way crossover study in patients (n = 20) with mild persistent to moderate persistent asthma. Placebo, racemic albuterol (2.50 mg), or levalbuterol (0.31, 0.63, or 1.25 mg) were delivered as single, nebulized doses to 5 male and 15 female nonsmoking patients with asthma aged 18-50 years. Serial pulmonary function was assessed at 15-min intervals and mean time to onset of activity and duration of improvement of forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1) were measured. In addition, blood chemistries, electrocardiogram (ECG) readings, and patient subjective assessment of adverse symptoms were recorded. Levalbuterol was found to provide significant bronchodilatory activity and was well tolerated. Levalbuterol 1.25 mg provided the greatest increase and duration in FEV1 improvement, whereas racemic albuterol (2.50 mg) and levalbuterol 0.63 mg provided comparable effects. The lower doses of levalbuterol were associated with a less marked effect on heart rate and potassium than racemic albuterol or high-dose levalbuterol. These data suggest that 0.63 mg levalbuterol provides bronchodilation equivalent to 2.50 mg racemic albuterol with less beta-mediated side effects.

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