Background: Inhaled corticosteroids are recommended for the treatment of persistent asthma. Comparative clinical studies evaluating 2 or more doses of these agents are few.
Objective: We sought to compare the efficacy and safety of 2 doses of fluticasone propionate (88 micrograms twice daily and 220 micrograms twice daily) with 2 doses of beclomethasone dipropionate (168 micrograms twice daily and 336 micrograms twice daily) in subjects with persistent asthma.
Methods: Three hundred ninety-nine subjects participated in this randomized, double-blind, parallel-group clinical trial. Eligible subjects were using daily inhaled corticosteroids and had an FEV1 of 45% to 80% of predicted value. Clinic visits, including spirometry, were conducted every 1 to 2 weeks. Subjects recorded symptoms, use of albuterol, and peak expiratory flows on daily diary cards.
Results: Fluticasone propionate treatment resulted in significantly (P </=.034) greater improvements in objective pulmonary function parameters than did beclomethasone dipropionate treatment and significantly greater reductions in daily albuterol use (P </=.010) and asthma symptoms (P </=.027). Both low-dose (88 micrograms twice daily) and medium-dose (220 micrograms twice daily) fluticasone propionate significantly increased FEV1 compared with higher doses of beclomethasone dipropionate (P =. 006). Low-dose and medium-dose fluticasone propionate improved FEV1 by 0.31 L (14%) and 0.36 L (15%), respectively, compared with improvements of 0.18 L (8%) and 0.21 L (9%) with low-dose and medium-dose beclomethasone dipropionate. The adverse event profiles were similar for both medications.
Conclusion: Fluticasone propionate provides greater asthma control at roughly half the dose of beclomethasone dipropionate, with a comparable adverse event profile.