Background: Fluticasone propionate is a potent inhaled corticosteroid that is effective in improving pulmonary function and symptoms in patients with asthma.
Objective: To evaluate the effects of fluticasone propionate on quality of life in patients with severe asthma requiring oral corticosteroids.
Methods: A total of 96 patients with severe asthma participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, oral steroid-sparing study. Patients received fluticasone propionate aerosol, 750 or 1000 micrograms bid, or placebo for 16 weeks; 91 of these patients continued in a 1-year open-label study, in which everyone initially received fluticasone propionate, 1000 micrograms bid. At regular intervals, patients completed the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36), a general health status questionnaire measuring eight dimensions of quality of life, plus one question on change in health from the previous year.
Results: Compared with the US population, patients scored significantly lower at baseline for five of eight SF-36 dimensions (P < .01). After 16 weeks, patients receiving fluticasone propionate, 1000 micrograms, improved significantly (P < or = .02) in physical functioning, role-physical, general health, and change in health, compared with the placebo group. After 1 year of open-label treatment with fluticasone propionate, these improvements were maintained. SF-36 scores in the placebo group during the double-blind period either worsened or remained unchanged; however, when these patients were switched to fluticasone propionate during the open-label period, their SF-36 scores also improved. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) at the end of the double-blind period was positively correlated with mean quality of life scores on physical functioning, role-physical, vitality, social functioning, and change-in-health status.
Conclusion: Health-related quality of life improved in patients with severe asthma following 16 weeks of treatment with fluticasone propionate, 1000 micrograms bid. These improvements were maintained during subsequent fluticasone propionate treatment over a 1-year period.