Aims: Spirometry, plethysmography and impulse oscillometry (IOS) measure different aspects of lung function. These methods have not been compared for their ability to assess long- and short-acting anticholinergic agents. We therefore performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled, four-way cross-over study in 30 healthy subjects.
Methods: Single doses of tiotropium bromide (Tio) 54 and 18 mcg, ipratropium bromide (IB) 40 mcg and placebo were administered. Specific conductance (sGaw), total lung capacity (TLC), inspiratory capacity (IC) and residual volume (RV) were measured using plethysmography, while IOS measured resistance (R5-25) and reactance (RF and X5). Pulmonary function was measured for 26 h post dose.
Results: Tio caused significant improvements in sGaw, forced expiratory voume in 1 s (FEV(1)), maximum mid-expiratory flow (MMEF) and R5-R25 at time points up to 26 h, with no clear differences between doses. IB improved the same parameters, but only up to 8 h. The weighted mean change (0-24 h) caused by Tio 54 mcg compared with placebo for FEV(1) was 240 ml (95% confidence interval 180, 300), while for sGaw the ratio of geometric means (Tio compared with placebo) was 1.35 (1.28, 1.41). Neither drug caused consistent statistically significant changes in RF, forced vital capacity, TLC or IC over 26 h. RV was significantly improved from 8 to 24 h by Tio 54 mcg only.
Conclusions: In addition to spirometry, IOS resistance measurements and sGaw can distinguish between the effects of long- and shortacting anticholinergic effects in healthy subjects.