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News: Budesonide and formoterol combination more effective than budesonide alone

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The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 267 No 7162 p251-255
25 August 2001

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Budesonide and formoterol combination more effective than budesonide alone

A combination of budesonide and formoterol, whether combined in a single inhaler or given separately, is more effective at controlling asthma than budesonide alone in patients whose asthma has not been previously fully controlled by inhaled corticosteroids, a new study shows.

Professor Olle Zetterstr?m, Karolinska hospital, Stockholm, and colleagues randomly assigned 362 patients to receive two inhalations twice daily of either single inhaler therapy containing budesonide 160µg and formoterol 4.5µg (Symbicort), budesonide 200µg plus formoterol 4.5µg in separate inhalers or budesonide 200µg alone. The study was carried out over a 12-week period and no concomitant asthma medication, except rescue medication with terbutaline sulphate or salbutamol, was allowed.

The researchers say that treatment with budesonide and formoterol resulted in greater improvements in total asthma symptom scores, the percentage of symptom-free days, the percentage of days on which no rescue medication was used and the amount of rescue medication used. They add that during the first 30 days of treatment, patients receiving single inhaler therapy tended to show a more rapid improvement in lung function (morning and evening peak expiratory flow) and symptom scores than those receiving budesonide and formoterol separately. However, over the whole treatment period there was no significant difference between the treatment groups.

The study is published in the European Respiratory Journal (2001;18:262). Symbicort was launched in the United Kingdom in June (PJ, 9 June).

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