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Saturday 01 January 2000

Low- and high-dose fluticasone propionate in asthma; effects during and after treatment.

By: Gershman NH, Wong HH, Liu JT, Fahy JV.

Eur Respir J 2000 Jan;15(1):11-8

The dose dependency of the effects of inhaled corticosteroids on markers of asthmatic airway inflammation have not been well studied. There is a need to study the dose/response effects on this inflammation. In order to determine the dose/response effects of fluticasone propionate (FP), 24 asthmatic subjects were randomized to low- (100 microg x day(-1)) or high-dose (1,000 microg x day(-1)) FP for six weeks followed by placebo for 3 weeks. During treatment, the median increase in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1)was 12% in the high-dose group (p<0.05) and 10% in the low-dose group (p<0.05) (p>0.05 between groups); the median decrease in the percentage of sputum eosinophils was 93% in the high-dose group (p<0.05) and 46% in the low-dose group (p<0.05) (p>0.05 between groups). Symptoms, salbutamol use, morning peak flow, provocative concentration of methacholine causing a 20% fall in FEV1 (PC20), sputum eosinophil cationic protein concentration and tryptase activity improved significantly in both groups (p<0.05), but only the improvement in salbutamol use was greater in the high-dose group (p<0.05). During the run-out, the improvements in FEV1 and PC20 were rapidly reversed in both groups, but the improvements in peak flow and tryptase activity persisted; the improvement in sputum eosinophil concentration persisted only in the high-dose group (p<0.05). It was concluded that dose/response effects for FP are not easily demonstrable because low-dose FP is quite effective. For most outcomes, the effects of high- and low-dose FP are relatively short-lived after treatment is stopped. This finding raises questions about the extent to which inhaled corticosteroids are disease-modifying in asthma.

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