Background: Improved adherence to inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) has also been associated with decreased asthma-associated morbidity and mortality.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess patient medication refill persistence with fluticasone propionate (FP) and salmeterol combination in a single inhaler (FSC), FP and salmeterol in combination from 2 separate inhalers, FP and montelukast in combination, FP as monotherapy, and montelukast as monotherapy.
Methods: We performed a retrospective, observational, 24-month (12-month baseline and 12-month follow-up) database study using medical and pharmacy claims from a large managed care organization. We identified 2511 subjects 12 years of age or older with a claim for asthma (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision: 493.XX): 563 patients receiving FSC, 224 receiving FP plus salmeterol, 75 receiving FP plus montelukast, 798 receiving FP only, and 776 receiving montelukast only. Refill rates of FP, as a measure of adherence, were compared for each FP-containing cohort during the 12-month follow-up period. In addition, refill rates were compared between FSC, an inhaler, and montelukast, an oral medication.
Results: Twelve-month baseline asthma medication use and patient demographics were comparable among cohorts. Patients in the FSC cohort obtained significantly more refills compared with the number of FP refills in the other FP-containing cohorts (4.06 for FSC vs 2.35 for FP plus salmeterol, 1.83 for FP plus montelukast, and 2.27 for FP alone) over the 12-month follow-up period. In addition, patients taking FSC had similar refill persistence compared with patients taking the oral leukotriene modifier montelukast (4.51).
Conclusion: FSC might increase ICS refill persistence compared with FP alone in a single inhaler, FP in combination with salmeterol from 2 separate inhalers, and FP in combination with montelukast. In addition, FSC in a dry powdered inhaler had similar refill rates compared with an oral asthma agent, montelukast. Use of a single inhaler containing both an ICS (FP) and a long-acting bronchodilator (salmeterol) might increase the likelihood that patients are getting more optimal ICS therapy, as well as the benefits from the long-acting bronchodilator, with patient adherence comparable to an oral agent.