Sixteen patients with stable chronic asthma participated in a double blind crossover study comparing the new inhaled long acting beta 2 agonist formoterol with salbutamol. Inhaled (n = 15) and oral steroid (n = 1) treatment were maintained at the same daily dose throughout the study. For four weeks the patients received either formoterol 24 micrograms twice daily or salbutamol 400 micrograms twice daily, plus additional puffs (with the same drug) when needed. Asthma symptoms, additional puffs of beta 2 agonist, peak expiratory flow (PEF), and side effects were recorded daily. During treatment with formoterol the patients used fewer additional puffs of beta 2 agonist, had better symptom scores, less disturbed sleep, more days without additional aerosol, and higher PEF both morning and evening than during salbutamol treatment. Thus formoterol 24 micrograms twice daily gave long lasting bronchodilatation and asthma symptoms were well controlled with regular twice daily administration.
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