In patients with mild asthma, as-needed use of an inhaled glucocorticoid plus a fast-acting β2-agonist may be an alternative to conventional treatment strategies.
We conducted a 52-week, double-blind trial involving patients 12 years of age or older with mild asthma. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three regimens: twice-daily placebo plus terbutaline (0.5 mg) used as needed (terbutaline group), twice-daily placebo plus budesonide–formoterol (200 μg of budesonide and 6 μg of formoterol) used as needed (budesonide–formoterol group), or twice-daily budesonide (200 μg) plus terbutaline used as needed (budesonide maintenance group). The primary objective was to investigate the superiority of as-needed budesonide–formoterol to as-needed terbutaline with regard to electronically recorded weeks with well-controlled asthma.
A total of 3849 patients underwent randomization, and 3836 (1277 in the terbutaline group, 1277 in the budesonide–formoterol group, and 1282 in the budesonide maintenance group) were included in the full analysis and safety data sets. With respect to the mean percentage of weeks with well-controlled asthma per patient, budesonide–formoterol was superior to terbutaline (34.4% vs. 31.1% of weeks; odds ratio, 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00 to 1.30; P=0.046) but inferior to budesonide maintenance therapy (34.4% and 44.4%, respectively; odds ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.57 to 0.73). The annual rate of severe exacerbations was 0.20 with terbutaline, 0.07 with budesonide–formoterol, and 0.09 with budesonide maintenance therapy; the rate ratio was 0.36 (95% CI, 0.27 to 0.49) for budesonide–formoterol versus terbutaline and 0.83 (95% CI, 0.59 to 1.16) for budesonide–formoterol versus budesonide maintenance therapy. The rate of adherence in the budesonide maintenance group was 78.9%. The median metered daily dose of inhaled glucocorticoid in the budesonide–formoterol group (57 μg) was 17% of the dose in the budesonide maintenance group (340 μg).
In patients with mild asthma, as-needed budesonide–formoterol provided superior asthma-symptom control to as-needed terbutaline, assessed according to electronically recorded weeks with well-controlled asthma, but was inferior to budesonide maintenance therapy. Exacerbation rates with the two budesonide-containing regimens were similar and were lower than the rate with terbutaline. Budesonide–formoterol used as needed resulted in substantially lower glucocorticoid exposure than budesonide maintenance therapy. (Funded by AstraZeneca; SYGMA 1 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02149199.)
Reference: N Engl J Med 2018; 378:1865-1876
Dry eye disease is a common chronic condition that is characterized by ocular discomfort and visual disturbances that decrease quality of life. Many clinicians recommend the use of supplements of n−3 fatty acids (often called omega-3 fatty acids) to relieve symptoms.
In a multicenter, double-blind clinical trial, we randomly assigned patients with moderate-to-severe dry eye disease to receive a daily oral dose of 3000 mg of fish-derived n−3 eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (active supplement group) or an olive oil placebo (placebo group). The primary outcome was the mean change from baseline in the score on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI; scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating greater symptom severity), which was based on the mean of scores obtained at 6 and 12 months. Secondary outcomes included mean changes per eye in the conjunctival staining score (ranging from 0 to 6) and the corneal staining score (ranging from 0 to 15), with higher scores indicating more severe damage to the ocular surface, as well as mean changes in the tear break-up time (seconds between a blink and gaps in the tear film) and the result on Schirmer’s test (length of wetting of paper strips placed on the lower eyelid), with lower values indicating more severe signs.
A total of 349 patients were assigned to the active supplement group and 186 to the placebo group; the primary analysis included 329 and 170 patients, respectively. The mean change in the OSDI score was not significantly different between the active supplement group and the placebo group (−13.9 points and −12.5 points, respectively; mean difference in change after imputation of missing data, −1.9 points; 95% confidence interval [CI], −5.0 to 1.1; P=0.21). This result was consistent across prespecified subgroups. There were no significant differences between the active supplement group and the placebo group in mean changes from baseline in the conjunctival staining score (mean difference in change, 0.0 points; 95% CI, −0.2 to 0.1), corneal staining score (0.1 point; 95% CI, −0.2 to 0.4), tear break-up time (0.2 seconds; 95% CI, −0.1 to 0.5), and result on Schirmer’s test (0.0 mm; 95% CI, −0.8 to 0.9). At 12 months, the rate of adherence to treatment in the active supplement group was 85.2%, according to the level of n−3 fatty acids in red cells. Rates of adverse events were similar in the two trial groups.
Among patients with dry eye disease, those who were randomly assigned to receive supplements containing 3000 mg of n−3 fatty acids for 12 months did not have significantly better outcomes than those who were assigned to receive placebo. (Funded by the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health; DREAM ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02128763.)
Reference: N Engl J Med 2018; 378:1681-1690
The benefits of triple therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with an inhaled glucocorticoid, a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA), and a long-acting β2-agonist (LABA), as compared with dual therapy (either inhaled glucocorticoid–LABA or LAMA–LABA), are uncertain.
In this randomized trial involving 10,355 patients with COPD, we compared 52 weeks of a once-daily combination of fluticasone furoate (an inhaled glucocorticoid) at a dose of 100 μg, umeclidinium (a LAMA) at a dose of 62.5 μg, and vilanterol (a LABA) at a dose of 25 μg (triple therapy) with fluticasone furoate–vilanterol (at doses of 100 μg and 25 μg, respectively) and umeclidinium–vilanterol (at doses of 62.5 μg and 25 μg, respectively). Each regimen was administered in a single Ellipta inhaler. The primary outcome was the annual rate of moderate or severe COPD exacerbations during treatment.
The rate of moderate or severe exacerbations in the triple-therapy group was 0.91 per year, as compared with 1.07 per year in the fluticasone furoate–vilanterol group (rate ratio with triple therapy, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80 to 0.90; 15% difference; P<0.001) and 1.21 per year in the umeclidinium–vilanterol group (rate ratio with triple therapy, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.70 to 0.81; 25% difference; P<0.001). The annual rate of severe exacerbations resulting in hospitalization in the triple-therapy group was 0.13, as compared with 0.19 in the umeclidinium–vilanterol group (rate ratio, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.56 to 0.78; 34% difference; P<0.001). There was a higher incidence of pneumonia in the inhaled-glucocorticoid groups than in the umeclidinium–vilanterol group, and the risk of clinician-diagnosed pneumonia was significantly higher with triple therapy than with umeclidinium–vilanterol, as assessed in a time-to-first-event analysis (hazard ratio, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.22 to 1.92; P<0.001).
Triple therapy with fluticasone furoate, umeclidinium, and vilanterol resulted in a lower rate of moderate or severe COPD exacerbations than fluticasone furoate–vilanterol or umeclidinium–vilanterol in this population. Triple therapy also resulted in a lower rate of hospitalization due to COPD than umeclidinium–vilanterol. (Funded by GlaxoSmithKline; IMPACT ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02164513.)
Reference: N Engl J Med 2018; 378:1671-1680
Question What is the effect of 5-day nitrofurantoin, compared with single-dose fosfomycin, on clinical resolution of uncomplicated lower urinary tract infection (UTI) in women?
Findings In this randomized clinical trial that included 513 women with uncomplicated UTI, clinical resolution at 28 days occurred in 70% of patients in the nitrofurantoin group vs 58% of patients in the fosfomycin group, a statistically significant difference.
Meaning Five-day nitrofurantoin may be a better alternative to single-dose fosfomycin for treating uncomplicated UTI in women.