A three-month comparison of twice daily inhaled formoterol versus four times daily inhaled albuterol in the management of stable asthma

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 Sep;144(3 Pt 1):622-5. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/144.3_Pt_1.622.


We compared the efficacy of inhaled formoterol, a long-acting beta 2-agonist, with inhaled albuterol in 145 stable adult asthmatics in a 12-wk multicenter trial. Patients were allocated in randomized double-blind fashion to maintenance therapy with either formoterol 12 micrograms twice a day or albuterol 200 micrograms four times a day in addition to their other asthma medications. Patients were allowed to use "rescue" 100-micrograms albuterol puffs on an as-needed basis. Mean baseline FEV, in the morning before bronchodilator was 2.14 +/- 0.76 L and 1.98 +/- 0.71 L for the formoterol and albuterol groups, respectively, these values being used as baseline covariates in subsequent analysis of predrug and postdrug FEV1. Measured at each clinic visit, morning predrug FEV1 rose significantly with formoterol treatment and was significantly greater at all visits than in the albuterol group, the greatest difference being in Week 8 (2.40 +/- 0.77 versus 1.92 +/- 0.66 L, p less than 0.001). Morning FEV1 30 min postdrug was significantly higher in the formoterol group at Weeks 2 and 8, the trend not reaching statistical significance at other times. Diurnal variation in prebronchodilator peak flow rates was significantly reduced in the formoterol group throughout the trial (17 versus 42 L/min at Week 12, p less than 0.0001). The number of asthma episodes per week was significantly less in the formoterol group during Weeks 4, 8, and 12 as were the number of sleep disruptions during Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12. Significantly more rescue albuterol was required in the albuterol group by Week 2 and throughout the remainder of the study.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Albuterol / administration & dosage*
  • Albuterol / adverse effects
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / adverse effects
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Ethanolamines / administration & dosage*
  • Ethanolamines / adverse effects
  • Ethanolamines / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / drug effects
  • Formoterol Fumarate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate / drug effects


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Ethanolamines
  • Albuterol
  • Formoterol Fumarate