Author(s): Quirce S, Barcina C, Plaza V, Calvo E, Munoz M
OBJECTIVE: To study the effectiveness and safety in a real-life setting of budesonide/formoterol (Symbicort) Maintenance And Reliever Therapy® (Symbicort SMART®), a simplified management approach with one inhaler, compared with conventional best practice (CBP) with multiple inhalers in patients with persistent asthma. DESIGN: Open-label randomized controlled parallel-group trial, 6-month treatment.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 654 adult patients, with persistent asthma receiving treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), either alone or in conjunction with long-acting β(2)-agonist. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Time to first severe asthma exacerbation and number of severe asthma exacerbations. RESULTS: No difference between groups was seen in time to first severe exacerbation (p = .2974). Exacerbation rates were low in both groups. A total of 22 patients in the Symbicort SMART group experienced a total of 24 severe asthma exacerbations, and 31 patients in the CBP group experienced a total of 34 severe asthma exacerbations (annual rate 0.16 vs. 0.22, p = .2869). The mean daily dose of ICS expressed in beclomethasone dipropionate equivalent was significantly lower in the Symbicort SMART group (including as-needed use) versus the CBP group (799 μg vs.1184 μg; p < .001). Mean scores in Asthma Control Questionnaire, five-question version, improved significantly in the SMART group compared with the CBP group (p = .0292). Symbicort SMART and CBP were equally well tolerated. The mean drug cost per patient per 6 months was lower for the patients in the SMART group compared with patients receiving CBP (€295.32 vs. €387.98, p < .0001).
CONCLUSIONS: A simplified regimen using budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy (Symbicort SMART) was at least as effective at improving clinical control compared with CBP with a significantly lower ICS dose and lower drug costs.