Background: Current asthma guidelines recommend inhaled glucocorticoids administered via pressurized metered-dose inhaler (MDI) with a holding chamber as the preferred therapy for young children with asthma.
Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of fluticasone propionate chlorofluorocarbon MDI use in preschool-aged children with asthma.
Methods: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of 332 children aged 24 to 47 months with asthma. Fluticasone propionate chlorofluorocarbon, 44 or 88 microg twice daily, or placebo (chlorofluorocarbon propellant alone) administered for 12 weeks via MDI with a valved holding chamber and an attached face mask. The primary efficacy measure was average change in 24-hour daily asthma symptom scores. Safety assessments included adverse events, 12-hour urinary cortisol excretion, and growth.
Results: Treatment failure (ie, asthma exacerbation) occurred in approximately half as many fluticasone propionate-treated patients (13%-14%) as placebo-treated patients (24%). Compared with placebo users, patients treated with fluticasone propionate, 88 microg twice daily, had a 13% greater improvement in the mean proportion of symptom- and albuterol-free days (P = .02); asthma symptom scores and albuterol use were also significantly reduced. Patients treated with fluticasone propionate, 44 microg twice daily, had greater improvements than placebo-treated patients; however, differences did not reach statistical significance. At end point, the growth velocities of fluticasone propionate-treated patients were within the range of those of placebo-treated patients. No clinically relevant changes in 12-hour overnight urinary cortisol excretion were observed.
Conclusion: Compared with placebo use, fluticasone propionate, 88 microg administered twice daily, significantly reduced asthma exacerbations, asthma symptoms, and rescue albuterol use and was well tolerated, with no clinically relevant systemic effects, as measured by growth velocity or 12-hour urinary cortisol excretion levels.