Effects of inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate on beta 2-receptor function in the airways and adrenal responsiveness in bronchial asthma

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1988;34(6):577-83. doi: 10.1007/BF00615220.


Sixteen patients suffering from bronchial asthma, with or without chronic bronchitis, sufficiently severe to be treated with inhaled corticosteroids, were studied in a single-blind trial (blind observer) of beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) given in three randomized dosage regimens: 500, 1000 and 2000 micrograms per day, each for 4 weeks. The beta 2-adrenergic agonist response curve showed a dose-dependent increase in FEV1 which was not affected by different doses of BDP. A small but significant reduction in basal cortisol levels was observed after BDP 500 micrograms/day. There was no significant difference between the various doses of BDP in reducing cortisol level and stimulation with tetracosactide remained unchanged. The study showed a gradual, dose-dependent improvement in lung function, statistically significant for morning peak expiratory flow rate at BDP 2000 micrograms/day. Dyspnoea score and beta 2-agonist use decreased, reflecting the anti-asthmatic effects. An increase in total leukocyte count was observed, together with a decrease in the eosinophil count. Oral candidiasis was seen in 2 out of 16 patients. It is concluded that the clinical anti-asthmatic effects of corticosteroid treatment by inhalation are not due to modulation of beta 2-receptor function in the airways.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / physiopathology*
  • Adult
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Beclomethasone / adverse effects
  • Beclomethasone / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Bronchi / physiopathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eosinophils
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / physiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Beclomethasone
  • Albuterol
  • Hydrocortisone