Background: Incorrect inhaler technique is a common cause of poor asthma control. This two-phase pragmatic study evaluated inhaler technique mastery and maintenance of mastery with DuoResp® (budesonide-formoterol [BF]) Spiromax® compared with Symbicort® (BF) Turbuhaler® in patients with asthma who were receiving inhaled corticosteroids/long-acting β2-agonists.
Methods: In the initial cross-sectional phase, patients were randomized to a 6-step training protocol with empty Spiromax and Turbuhaler devices. Patients initially demonstrating ≥1 error with their current device, and then achieving mastery with both Spiromax and Turbuhaler (absence of healthcare professional [HCP]-observed errors), were eligible for the longitudinal phase. In the longitudinal phase, patients were randomized to BF Spiromax or BF Turbuhaler. Co-primary endpoints were the proportions of patients achieving device mastery after three training steps and maintaining device mastery (defined as the absence of HCP-observed errors after 12 weeks of use). Secondary endpoints included device preference, handling error frequency, asthma control, and safety. Exploratory endpoints included assessment of device mastery by an independent external expert reviewing video recordings of a subset of patients.
Results: Four hundred ninety-three patients participated in the cross-sectional phase, and 395 patients in the longitudinal phase. In the cross-sectional phase, more patients achieved device mastery after three training steps with Spiromax (94%) versus Turbuhaler (87%) (odds ratio [OR] 3.77 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.05-6.95], p < 0.001). Longitudinal phase data indicated that the odds of maintaining inhaler mastery at 12 weeks were not statistically significantly different (OR 1.26 [95% CI 0.80-1.98], p = 0.316). Asthma control improved in both groups with no significant difference between groups (OR 0.11 [95% CI -0.09-0.30]). An exploratory analysis indicated that the odds of maintaining independent expert-verified device mastery were significantly higher for patients using Spiromax versus Turbuhaler (OR 2.11 [95% CI 1.25-3.54]).
Conclusions: In the cross-sectional phase, a significantly greater proportion of patients using Spiromax versus Turbuhaler achieved device mastery; in the longitudinal phase, the proportion of patients maintaining device mastery with Spiromax versus Turbuhaler was similar. An exploratory independent expert-verified analysis found Spiromax was associated with higher levels of device mastery after 12 weeks. Asthma control was improved by treatment with both BF Spiromax and BF Turbuhaler.
Trial registration: EudraCT 2013-004630-14 (registration date 23 January 2014); NCT02570425 .
Keywords: Asthma; Budesonide/formoterol; Dry-powder inhaler; Inhaler mastery; Inhaler technique; Intuitive; Pragmatic clinical trial.