Purpose: As new delivery devices and formulations are being introduced for drugs given by inhalation, there is a need to evaluate their equivalence with old preparations. One way to do this is to investigate their equivalence in protecting from exercise-induced asthma (EIA).
Methods: We used a protocol for EIA to compare the protective effect of salbutamol delivered by the pressurised metered dose inhaler (pMDI) and the new Diskus dry powder device. Twenty-seven asthmatic subjects with moderately severe EIA completed an exercise test on four separate days at two study centers. Exercise was performed by cycling for 8 min while inhaling dry air (0% RH, 20-24 degrees C). The target workload in W was predicted as (53.76 x predicted FEV1) - 11.07 and 95% of this target was achieved at 4 min of exercise. This target was chosen in order to achieve ventilation between 50 and 60% of predicted maximum in the last 4 min.
Results: There was no significant difference in the workload, ventilation, or heart rate achieved on the study days. The severity of EIA was measured as the % fall in FEV1. EIA severity was similar on the placebo and control day and the coefficient of variation was 19.4%. The mean +/- SD % fall on the control, placebo, salbutamol by Diskus, and pMDI were 42.0% +/- 15, 39.4% +/-17.6, 13.4% +/- 13.2, and 8.5% +/- 13.8, respectively. Salbutamol significantly inhibited the % fall in FEV1 after exercise, and there was no difference between the preparations.
Conclusion: The protocol described here is suitable for evaluating equivalence of salbutamol preparations in protecting against EIA and could be used to evaluate the protective effect of other medications.