Because additive effects of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting anticholinergics are unclear, we undertook this study to compare the efficacy of tiotropium alone and tiotropium plus budesonide in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The study subjects were randomized to receive either tiotropium 18 microg once daily with or without budesonide 200 microg twice daily for 6 weeks. The efficacy variables were changes in trough forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), 6-minute walk distance (6MWD), and use of rescue medication. One hundred patients were randomized and 81 completed the study. The mean age was 64.0 yr, and the mean FEV1 was 39.7% predicted. Compared with tiotropium alone (N=40), the tiotropium/budesonide combination (N=41) was related to an improvement in the SGRQ total score (tiotropium -2.8 units and tiotropium/budesonide -5.6 units, p=0.003). 6MWD was improved by 13.5 m in the tiotropium group and by 22.5 m in the tiotropium/budesonide group (p=0.031). Changes in trough FEV1 and the use of rescue medication were similar between two groups. In conclusion, compared with tiotropium alone, the tiotropium/budesonide combination was related to an improved health-related quality of life. These data support that low-dose budesonide may enhance the efficacy of tiotropium.