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 (FEV 1 ), 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. Conclusion: 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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