Extrafine Beclometasone Dipropionate/Formoterol Fumarate vs Double Bronchodilation Therapy in Patients with COPD: A Historical Real-World Non-Inferiority Study

Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2020 Oct 29;15:2739-2750. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S269287. eCollection 2020.


Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate the non-inferiority of initiating extrafine beclometasone dipropionate/formoterol fumarate (BDP/FF) versus double bronchodilation (long-acting beta-agonists [LABA]/long-acting muscarinic antagonists [LAMA]) among patients with a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations.

Patients and methods: A historical cohort study was conducted using data from the UK's Optimum Patient Care Research Database. Patients with COPD ≥40 years at diagnosis were included if they initiated extrafine BDP/FF or any LABA/LAMA double therapy as a step-up from no maintenance therapy or monotherapy with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), LAMA, or LABA and a history of ≥2 moderate/severe exacerbations in the previous two years. The primary outcome was exacerbation rate from therapy initiation until a relevant therapy change or end of follow-up. Secondary outcomes included rate of acute respiratory events, acute oral corticosteroids (OCS) courses, and antibiotic prescriptions with lower respiratory indication, modified Medical Research Council score (mMRC) ≥2, and time to first pneumonia diagnosis. The non-inferiority boundary was set at a relative difference of 15% on the ratio scale. Five potential treatment effect modifiers were investigated.

Results: A total of 1735 patients initiated extrafine BDP/FF and 2450 patients initiated LABA/LAMA. The mean age was 70 years, 51% were male, 41% current smokers, and 85% had FEV1 <80% predicted. Extrafine BDP/FF showed non-inferiority to LABA/LAMA for rate of exacerbations (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 1.01 [95% CI 0.94-1.09]), acute respiratory events (IRR = 0.98 [0.92-1.04]), acute OCS courses (IRR = 1.01 [0.91-1.11]), and antibiotic prescriptions (IRR = 0.99 [0.90-1.09]), but not for mMRC (OR = 0.93 [0.69-1.27]) or risk of pneumonia (HR = 0.50 [0.14-1.73]). None of the a priori defined effect modifier candidates affected the comparative effectiveness.

Conclusion: This study found that stepping up to extrafine BDP/FF from no maintenance or monotherapy was not inferior to stepping up to double bronchodilation therapy in patients with a history of exacerbations.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; comparative effectiveness; electronic health records; heterogeneity; observational; real-world.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenergic beta-2 Receptor Agonists / adverse effects
  • Aged
  • Beclomethasone* / adverse effects
  • Bronchodilator Agents / adverse effects
  • Cohort Studies
  • Formoterol Fumarate / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / drug therapy


  • Adrenergic beta-2 Receptor Agonists
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • Beclomethasone
  • Formoterol Fumarate