Background: Long-term randomized trials comparing asthma outcomes between inhaled corticosteroids in real-world populations are lacking. As such, rigorously conducted observational studies to complement the findings of randomized trials are needed.
Objective: We sought to compare asthma-related outcomes over 1 year as recorded in a large primary care database for patients aged 5 to 60 years receiving a first prescription (initiation population) or dose increase (step-up population) of hydrofluoroalkane (HFA)-beclomethasone or fluticasone.
Methods: We used a retrospective matched cohort study in which patients were matched on baseline demographic and disease severity measures. Coprimary outcomes were asthma control (a composite measure comprising no unplanned visit or hospitalization for asthma, oral corticosteroids, or antibiotics for lower respiratory tract infection) and exacerbation rate.
Results: More than 80% of patients in each population achieved asthma control; 10% and 16% of patients in the initiation and step-up populations, respectively, received add-on or combination therapy during the year. Fluticasone was prescribed at significantly higher doses than HFA-beclomethasone for both populations (P <or= .001). In the initiation population (n = 1319 in each cohort) the adjusted odds ratio for achieving asthma control with HFA-beclomethasone was 1.30 (95% CI, 1.02-1.65) relative to fluticasone. In the step-up population (cohorts: n = 250) the adjusted odds ratio for achieving asthma control with HFA-beclomethasone was 1.22 (95% CI, 0.66-2.26). Exacerbation rates were similar between cohorts.
Conclusions: In a real-world setting patients receiving HFA-beclomethasone had a similar or better chance of achieving asthma control at lower prescribed doses than with fluticasone.
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