Pneumonia risk with inhaled fluticasone furoate and vilanterol in COPD patients with moderate airflow limitation: The SUMMIT trial

Respir Med. 2017 Oct;131:27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2017.07.060. Epub 2017 Aug 1.


Rationale: Pneumonia risk with inhaled corticosteroid use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has not been thoroughly assessed in patients with moderate airflow limitation.

Objectives: To determine the incidence of pneumonia and risk factors in COPD patients with moderate airflow limitation who had, or were at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

Methods: In the Study to Understand Mortality and MorbidITy in COPD (SUMMIT), 16,590 subjects with moderate airflow limitation (50% ≤ FEV1 ≤ 70% predicted) and heightened cardiovascular risk were randomized double-blind 1:1:1:1 to inhaled once-daily vilanterol 25 μg (VI), fluticasone furoate 100 μg (FF), vilanterol 25 μg combined with 100 μg fluticasone furoate (FF/VI), or matched placebo. In a pre-specified analysis, we assessed investigator-reported adverse pneumonia events, and independently-adjudicated fatal events.

Measurements and main results: The safety population comprised 16,568 subjects who actually received study medication. There were 1017 pneumonia events reported from 842 subjects. For placebo, FF, VI and FF/VI, reported pneumonia incidence was 5%, 5%, 4% and 6%, respectively. When adjusted for time on treatment, event rates were similar in the placebo, FF and FF/VI containing arms (3.84, 4.24 and 3.95/100 treatment years, respectively) but lower in the VI group (2.77/100 treatment years). Risk factors for pneumonia risk included: greater degree of airflow limitation (i.e. FEV1 <60% predicted), prior exacerbation history, and BMI <25 kg/m2.

Conclusions: In contrast to previous studies in patients with severe disease, increased pneumonia risk with inhaled corticosteroid use was not evident in COPD subjects with moderate airflow limitation and heightened cardiovascular risk.

Trial registration: NCT01313676.

Keywords: Chronic obstructive; Corticosteroids; Pneumonia; Pulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Androstadienes / therapeutic use*
  • Benzyl Alcohols / therapeutic use*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chlorobenzenes / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Risk
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Androstadienes
  • Benzyl Alcohols
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Chlorobenzenes
  • Drug Combinations
  • Glucocorticoids
  • vilanterol
  • fluticasone furoate

Associated data