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Open Access Research article

Rapid effects of extrafine beclomethasone dipropionate/formoterol fixed combination inhaler on airway inflammation and bronchoconstriction in asthma: a randomised controlled trial

Brian J O'Connor1, Sara Collarini2, Gianluigi Poli2, Caterina Brindicci2, Monica Spinola2*, Daniela Acerbi2, Peter J Barnes3 and Brian Leaker1

Author Affiliations

1 Heart Lung Centre, Respiratory Clinical Trials Ltd, Queen Anne Street Medical Centre, 18-22 Queen Anne Street, London W1G 8HU, UK

2 Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A., Via Palermo 26/A, 43122 Parma, Italy

3 National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College, Exhibition Rd, London SW7 2AZ, UK

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2011, 11:60  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-11-60

Published: 21 December 2011



The dose-dependent anti-inflammatory effects of a recent fixed combination of extrafine beclomethasone dipropionate/formoterol (BDP/F) were investigated using non-invasive markers of inflammation, exhaled nitric oxide (NO) and adenosine monophosphate (AMP) provocative challenge. The aim was to assess the onset of the anti-inflammatory action of low and high doses and evaluate the suitability of non-invasive assessments to demonstrate dose response.


Steroid naïve adult out-patients with mild asthma, sensitive to AMP with baseline exhaled NO > 25 parts per billion entered a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 3-way, cross-over study. Patients were randomised to low dose (1 actuation) or high dose (4 actuations) extrafine BDP/F 100/6 μg, or placebo administered twice daily on Days 1 and 2 and once in the morning on Day 3 of each period. Exhaled NO was measured pre-dose on Day 1, then 2 and 4 hours post-administration on Day 3. The AMP challenge was performed 4 hours post-administration on Day 3 and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1, L) was measured from 0 to 4 hours post-dose on Day 1. Endpoints were NO at 2 and 4 hours, AMP challenge at 4 hours after the fifth dose on Day 3 and FEV1 area under the curve from 0 to 4 h post-dose on Day 1. Analysis of covariance was performed for NO and FEV1 and analysis of variance for AMP challenge.


Eighteen patients were randomised and completed the study. Exhaled NO was significantly lower for both doses of extrafine BDP/F versus placebo at 2 and 4 hours (high dose LS mean difference: -22.5 ppb, p < 0.0001 and -20.5 ppb, p < 0.0001; low dose: -14.1 ppb, p = 0.0006 and -12.1 ppb, p = 0.0043) with a significant dose response (p = 0.0342 and p = 0.0423). Likewise, AMP challenge revealed statistically significant differences between both doses of extrafine BDP/F and placebo (high dose LS mean difference: 4.8 mg/mL, p < 0.0001; low dose: 3.7 mg/mL, p < 0.0001), and a significant dose response (p = 0.0185). FEV1 was significantly improved versus placebo for both doses (high dose LS mean difference: 0.2 L, p = 0.0001; low dose: 0.2 L p = 0.0001), but without a significant dose response.


The fixed combination inhaler of extrafine BDP/F has early dose-dependent anti-inflammatory effects with a rapid onset of bronchodilatation in mild asthmatic patients.

Trial Registration NCT01343745