Addition of salmeterol to low-dose fluticasone versus higher-dose fluticasone: An analysis of asthma exacerbations

Jonathan Matz, Amanda Emmett, Kathleen Rickard, Christopher Kalberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Adding salmeterol to low-dose fluticasone propionate (FP) produces greater improvements in pulmonary function and symptom control than increasing the dose of FP in patients who remain symptomatic with low-dose FP. Objective: We sought to compare the rates and characteristics of asthma exacerbations in patients after adding salmeterol to low-dose FP with the rates and characteristics of exacerbations in patients receiving higher dose FP. Methods: In 2 multicenter, double-blind studies, 925 patients 12 years of age and older receiving 88 μg twice daily FP randomly received either 42 μg of salmeterol and 88 μg of FP or an increased dose of FP (220 μg) twice daily for 24 weeks. Exacerbation rates and clinical measures of asthma worsening were assessed for all patients who experienced an asthma exacerbation. Results: The addition of salmeterol resulted in a significantly lower rate and number of exacerbations compared with higher dose FP. A total of 41 (8.8%) patients experienced 47 exacerbations with the addition of salmeterol compared with 63 (13.8%) patients with 75 exacerbations in the group receiving increased-dose FP (P = .017). Salmeterol plus low-dose FP was significantly more protective than increased-dose FP in preventing asthma exacerbations, as assessed by the time to first exacerbation (P < .05). In both groups clinical indicators of worsening asthma showed parallel changes before asthma exacerbation, and greater improvements were observed after exacerbation with salmeterol compared with higher dose FP. Conclusion: Salmeterol plus low-dose FP was more effective than higher dose FP alone in reducing asthma exacerbations in patients with persistent asthma. The ability to detect deteriorating asthma and the severity of exacerbation was similar between groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-789
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5 SUPPL.
StatePublished - May 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma exacerbations
  • Fluticasone propionate
  • Inhaled corticosteroid
  • Long-acting β-agonist
  • Salmeterol xinafoate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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