Background: The study was designed to compare the efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of extra-fine beclomethasone and formoterol, with the fixed combination fluticasone and salmeterol in Taiwanese asthmatic patients. Methods: This was a phase III, multicentre, randomized, two-arm parallel groups, controlled study. Patients with moderate to severe asthma were randomized to a 12-week treatment with either beclomethasone 100 mcg plus formoterol 6 mcg (BDP/F) or fluticasone 125 mcg plus salmeterol 25 mcg (FP/S), both delivered 2 inhalations twice daily. The efficacy and tolerability of these two combinations were compared. Results: Among the 253 randomized subjects, 244 patients were evaluable (119 in the BDP/F group and 125 in the FP/S group). A significant improvement from baseline to the end of treatment period was observed in both BDP/F and FP/S groups in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), morning and evening peak expiratory flow (PEF), Asthma Control Test (ACT) score and the use of rescue medication. FVC increase from pre-dose was significant after 5 min post inhalation in the BDP/F group only, while statistically significant within group improvement was not achieved until 30 min post inhalation in the FP/S group. Conclusions: The BDP/F combination is comparable in efficacy and tolerability to FP/S combination in Taiwanese asthmatic patients, with the advantage of rapid onset of improvement of FVC, consistent with the faster improvement of pulmonary hyperinflation with BDP/F.
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