Effects on lung function, symptoms, and bronchial hyperreactivity of low-dose inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate given with HFA-134a or CFC propellant

J Aerosol Med. 2002 Winter;15(4):407-14. doi: 10.1089/08942680260473489.


The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of BDP 200 microg bid via metered dose inhaler, using HFA-134a (Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A., Parma, Italy) versus CFC (Becotide, Allen & Hanburys, U.K.) as a propellant. 172 adult patients (86 in each group) with stable mild persistent asthma who completed a 7-day run-in period were randomized to receive a 6-week treatment in a double-blind, double dummy, parallel-group design; 164 patients completed the study. Morning and evening PEFR, use of rescue salbutamol, number of day-time and night-time asthma attacks, number of night-time awakenings and clinical symptoms were recorded daily on a diary card. Pulmonary function tests (FEV(1), FVC, PEFR, and MEF(50)) were measured at the clinic before and after the 1-week run-in period, and after 3 and 6 weeks of treatment. A challenge test with inhaled methacholine was completed at baseline and at the end of the treatment period to assess potential bronchial hyper-reactivity in a subgroup of subjects (n = 65; 34 HFA, 31 CFC). In accordance with asthma of mild severity (FEV(1) predicted over 90% in both groups), a small improvement in lung function compared to baseline was seen for both treatments, significantly for FEV(1) in BDP HFA and MEF(50) in both groups. The two formulations of BDP had similar efficacy for the primary outcome variable morning PEFR (ITT population mean difference 5.8 L/min; C.I. -4.9 to +16.5) as well as for the secondary outcomes of evening PEFR and clinic FEV(1). There were small improvements in methacholine PD(20) and PC20 in both groups, with no significant difference between treatments. A total of 22 and 19 drug-related adverse events were reported in the BDP HFA and CFC groups, respectively; most events were of seasonal nature or were local effects due to the use of inhaled corticosteroids. It can be concluded that the newly developed formulation of BDP given via HFA-134a seems to provide similar asthma control, compared with the same low daily dose of the active drug delivered via CFC. Further studies are needed using higher doses in moderate to severe asthma to confirm these preliminary findings.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Aerosol Propellants
  • Aerosols
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Beclomethasone / administration & dosage
  • Beclomethasone / adverse effects
  • Beclomethasone / pharmacology*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / diagnosis*
  • Chlorofluorocarbons
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Fluorinated
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Respiratory Function Tests


  • Aerosol Propellants
  • Aerosols
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Chlorofluorocarbons
  • Hydrocarbons, Fluorinated
  • Beclomethasone
  • apaflurane