Comparison of ipratropium bromide and albuterol in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a three-center study

Am J Med. 1991 Oct 21;91(4A):28S-32S. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(91)90259-z.


Seventy-two subjects who had severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a history of heavy smoking completed a study to compare the effect of single doses of ipratropium bromide (0.036 mg), albuterol (0.18 mg), and placebo on the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), heart rate, and blood pressure during a period of 6 hours. During initial testing for reversibility, 40 subjects did not demonstrate a 15% increase in FEV1 from baseline after metaproterenol. Ipratropium produced a significantly greater response than albuterol in FEV1 at 3, 4, and 5 hours and in FVC at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 hours. For the entire 6-hour period, ipratropium produced a 25% greater response than albuterol in FEV1 and a 50% greater response in FVC. The difference between the two drugs was even greater between 3 and 6 hours. There were no significant differences between the three treatments as regards adverse reactions, heart rate, and blood pressure measurements. In patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ipratropium bromide has apparent benefits over beta 2 agonist therapy, including a longer duration of action. Ipratropium may also be effective when beta 2 agonists are not effective.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Albuterol / administration & dosage
  • Albuterol / adverse effects
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / drug effects
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Ipratropium / administration & dosage
  • Ipratropium / adverse effects
  • Ipratropium / therapeutic use*
  • Linear Models
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Safety
  • Smoking
  • Tachycardia / chemically induced
  • Time Factors
  • Vital Capacity / drug effects


  • Aerosols
  • Placebos
  • Ipratropium
  • Albuterol