In this randomized crossover study, 22 adult patients with moderate-to-severe persistent bronchial asthma were assigned to one of two groups. Patients in group 1 were administered fluticasone dry powder inhaler (DPI) for 8 weeks followed by a 2-week washout period, then hydrofluoroalkane- beclometasone dipropionate (HFA-BDP) for 8 weeks. After a further 2-week washout, they were again administered fluticasone DPI for 8 weeks. Patients in group 2 were assigned HFA-BDP followed by fluticasone PII and finally HFA-BDP over the same time periods. In both groups, no significant difference was observed in use of beta2-agonists and symptom score between the treatment periods; however, markers of pulmonary function were significantly higher when on HFA-BDP versus fluticasone DPI. Significant increases of morning peak expiratory flow (PEF) (p < 0.01), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1.0) (p < 0.01), V50 (p < 0.05), and V 25 (p < 0.01) were observed at 18 weeks in group 1, whereas there were significant decreases of V50 (p < 0.05) at 18 weeks in group 2. No significant difference was noted in circulating eosinophil count and serum ECP between the 2 treatments; however, ECP in induced sputum and nitric oxide in expired gas were significantly lower (p < 0.05 and < 0.01, respectively) when on HFA-BDP versus fluticasone DPI. HFA-BDP might be delivered to small airways more effectively than fluticasone DPI.
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