Rationale: There are no studies on withdrawal of inhaled corticosteroids in patients on long-term triple therapy in the absence of frequent exacerbations.
Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of direct de-escalation from long-term triple therapy to indacaterol/glycopyrronium in nonfrequently exacerbating patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Methods: This 26-week, randomized, double-blind, triple-dummy study assessed the direct change from long-term triple therapy to indacaterol/glycopyrronium (110/50 μg once daily) or continuation of triple therapy (tiotropium [18 μg] once daily plus combination of salmeterol/fluticasone propionate [50/500 μg] twice daily) in nonfrequently exacerbating patients with moderate-to-severe COPD. Primary endpoint was noninferiority on change from baseline in trough FEV1. Moderate or severe exacerbations were predefined secondary endpoints.
Measurements and Main Results: A total of 527 patients were randomized to indacaterol/glycopyrronium and 526 to triple therapy. Inhaled corticosteroids withdrawal led to a reduction in trough FEV1 of −26 ml (95% confidence interval, −53 to 1 ml) with confidence limits exceeding the noninferiority margin of −50 ml. The annualized rate of moderate or severe COPD exacerbations did not differ between treatments (rate ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.83 to 1.40). Patients with ≥300 blood eosinophils/μl at baseline presented greater lung function loss and higher exacerbation risk. Adverse events were similar in the two groups.
Conclusions: In patients with COPD without frequent exacerbations on long-term triple therapy, the direct de-escalation to indacaterol/glycopyrronium led to a small decrease in lung function, with no difference in exacerbations. The higher exacerbation risk in patients with ≥300 blood eosinophils/μl suggests that these patients are likely to benefit from triple therapy.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 02603393).