Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original research
Budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy versus fluticasone/salmeterol fixed-dose treatment in patients with COPD


Background Maintenance and reliever therapy (MART) with inhaled corticosteroid (ICS)/formoterol effectively reduces exacerbations in asthma. We aimed to investigate its efficacy compared with fixed-dose fluticasone/salmeterol in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods Patients with COPD and ≥1 exacerbation in the previous 2 years were randomly assigned to open-label MART (Spiromax budesonide/formoterol 160/4.5 µg 2 inhalations twice daily+1 prn) or fixed-dose therapy (Diskus fluticasone propionate/salmeterol combination (FSC) 500/50 µg 1 inhalation twice daily+salbutamol 100 µg prn) for 1 year. The primary outcome was rate of moderate/severe exacerbations, defined by treatment with oral prednisolone and/or antibiotics.

Results In total, 195 patients were randomised (MART Bud/Form n=103; fixed-dose FSC n=92). No significant difference was seen between MART and FSC therapy in exacerbation rates (1.32 vs 1.32 /year, respectively, rate ratio 1.05 (95% CI 0.79 to 1.39); p=0.741). No differences in lung function parameters or health status were observed. Total ICS dose was significantly lower with MART than FSC therapy (budesonide-equivalent 928 µg/day vs 1747 µg/day, respectively, p<0.05). Similar proportions of patients reported adverse events (MART Bud/Form: 73% vs fixed-dose FSC: 68%, p=0.408) and pneumonias (MART: 5% vs FSC: 1%, p=0.216).

Conclusions This first study of MART in COPD found that budesonide/formoterol MART might be similarly effective to fluticasone/salmeterol fixed-dose therapy in moderate to severe patients with COPD, at a lower daily ICS dosage. Further evidence is needed about long-term safety.

  • COPD Exacerbations
  • COPD Pharmacology

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Please contact the corresponding author in case of interest in potential data access.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles