Effect of Roflumilast and Inhaled Corticosteroid/Long-Acting β2-Agonist on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbations (RE2SPOND). A Randomized Clinical Trial

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Moderate and severe exacerbations are incompletely prevented by maximal inhalation therapy in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


To determine whether roflumilast reduces moderate and/or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations in patients at risk for exacerbations despite treatment with inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β2-agonist with or without a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA).


In this 52-week, phase 4, double-blind, placebo-controlled RE2SPOND (Roflumilast Effect on Exacerbations in Patients on Dual [LABA/ICS] Therapy) trial (NCT01443845), participants aged 40 years or older with severe/very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, two or more exacerbations and/or hospitalizations in the previous year, and receiving inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β2-agonist with or without LAMA daily for 3 or more months were equally randomized to once-daily roflumilast, 500 μg (n = 1,178), or placebo (n = 1,176). Stratification was based on LAMA use.

Measurements and Main Results:

Although rate of moderate or severe exacerbations per patient per year (primary endpoint) was reduced by 8.5% with roflumilast versus placebo, the between-group difference was not statistically significant (rate ratio, 0.92; 95% confidence interval, 0.81-1.04; P = 0.163). However, roflumilast improved lung function, and in a post hoc analysis roflumilast significantly reduced the rate of moderate or severe exacerbations in participants with a history of more than three exacerbations and/or one or more hospitalizations in the prior year. Adverse event-related discontinuations occurred in 11.7% roflumilast-treated and 5.4% placebo-treated participants. Deaths occurred in 2.5% roflumilast and 2.1% placebo participants.


Roflumilast failed to statistically significantly reduce moderate and/or severe exacerbations in the overall population. Roflumilast improved lung function and reduced exacerbations in participants with frequent exacerbations and/or hospitalization history. The safety profile of roflumilast was consistent with that of previous studies.


Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01443845).

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