BACKGROUND 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. METHODS 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. RESULTS 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). CONCLUSIONS 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.
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