Objectives: To identify the asthma patients, on short-acting beta2-agonists alone, who would benefit from initial maintenance therapy (IMT) with salmeterol/fluticasone (SFC) propionate 50/100 microg bd compared with fluticasone propionate (FP) 100 microg bd alone. The results of an integrated analysis of data from four previous trials are presented.
Methods: The four original trials were randomised, double-blind, parallel group studies and included patients who had received IMT with SFC 50/100 microg bd or FP 100 microg bd. Patients were >or=12 years with a 6 month history of asthma and >or=15% reversibility in FEV1. Patients had either not received inhaled corticosteroids in the preceding month or were steroid naïve. Patients were assessed to determine whether any GINA-defined asthma characteristics or combination of asthma characteristics could predict those individuals who would achieve well controlled asthma status with IMT with SFC rather than with inhaled steroid alone. Patients with persistent asthma were assessed based on GINA-defined baseline asthma characteristics and well controlled asthma status in response to each treatment was investigated according to combinations of these baseline features. Subsequently, a further range of endpoints, including asthma symptoms, rescue medication use and asthma control, were analysed over weeks 1-12 for the combinations of features where the treatment difference in well controlled asthma status was greatest.
Results: The results of the initial analyses demonstrated that patients exhibiting two or three features of uncontrolled asthma at baseline were more likely to achieve well controlled asthma when treated with SFC than with FP alone, the most significant difference being observed in patients with three baseline features (odds ratio 2.60, 95% CI: 1.87, 3.62, p<0.001). Patients with one baseline feature showed no difference between the FP and SFC groups. Further analyses on data from patients with two or three baseline asthma features, showed that treatment with SFC resulted in significantly greater improvements in mean morning PEF, percentage symptom-free days, nights with no awakenings and rescue-free days compared with FP. In addition, asthma control was achieved earlier in patients in the SFC group. SFC and FP were well tolerated as shown previously in the four individual trials.
Conclusions: Patients on short-acting beta2-agonists alone with two or three features of uncontrolled asthma (moderate to severe airflow limitation/daily symptoms/daily rescue medication use) are most likely to achieve better control, earlier, with SFC 50/100 microg bd initial maintenance treatment compared with FP 100 microg bd alone.