A comparative study was conducted in elderly subjects with mild bronchial asthma to investigate the clinical usefulness of monotherapy with a leukotriene receptor antagonist in comparison to an inhaled corticosteroid. A total of 41 elderly patients aged 65 years or older with mild bronchial asthma, classified as being in severity step 1 and 2, were randomly assigned to the following two treatment groups: a pranlukast (CAS 103177-37-3, Onon) treatment group of 21 patients and an inhaled corticosteroid treatment group of 20 patients. Patients of the former group received pranlukast 450 mg daily and those of the latter group received fluticasone (CAS 90566-53-3) 200 μg daily for eight weeks. In the reference group, one patient was found to suffer from oral candidiasis 4 weeks after the start of the study. Therefore the evaluation was conducted on the remaining 19 participants. The evaluation parameters examined were obtained by keeping an asthma diary, determinations of PEF (peek expiratory flow), use frequency of β2 stimulants, changes in symptom scores, and medication compliance. Further, measured before and after therapy were the ratio of peripheral blood eosinophils counts, serum ECP (eosinophils cationic protein), ECP levels induced sputum, and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1.0). As a result, in the time-course changes of symptoms scores and morning PEF, swift improvement was noted in the pranlukast group. Further, in the variables such as use frequency of β2 stimulants, serum ECP levels, ECP levels induced sputum, and FEV1.0, an almost comparable level of improvement to the fluticasone group was demonstrated. From the above results, it was deemed that in elderly patients with mild bronchial asthma classified as steps 1 and 2, the pranlukast monotherapy, with superior medication compliance to inhaled therapy, would produce an equivalent level of clinical efficacy to the monotherapy with inhaled corticosteroid (fluticasone 200 μg daily).
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