Study objectives: To determine whether the combination of ipratropium bromide and albuterol results in greater and more consistent pulmonary function test (PFT) response rates than ipratropium bromide or albuterol alone in patients with COPD.
Design: Retrospective review of two recently completed 3-month, randomized, double-blind, parallel, multicenter, phase III trials.
Patients: A total of 1,067 stable patients with COPD.
Interventions: Ipratropium bromide (36 microg qid), albuterol base (180 microg qid), or an equivalent combination of ipratropium bromide and albuterol sulfate (42 microg and 240 microg qid, respectively).
Measurements and results: PFT response rates were analyzed using 12% and 15% increases in FEV1 compared with baseline values and were measured in the various treatment groups on days 1, 29, 57, and 85 in these trials. Regardless of whether a 12% or a 15% increase in FEV1 was used to define a positive response, an equivalent combination of ipratropium bromide and albuterol sulfate was superior to the individual agents (p < 0.05; all comparisons within 30 min). In addition, a 15% or more increase in FEV1 was seen in > 80% of patients who received the combination of ipratropium and albuterol sulfate during the initial PFT and continued to be observed 3 months after initial testing.
Conclusions: Use of a combination of ipratropium bromide and albuterol sulfate is superior to the individual agents in identifying PFT reversibility in patients with COPD.