There are no data comparing the relative efficacy of hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) formulations of ciclesonide (CIC) and fluticasone propionate (FP) on airway hyper-responsiveness, in mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. We therefore elected to evaluate the comparative efficacy of HFA pressurized metered-dose inhaler formulations of CIC and FP, assessing methacholine challenge, in addition to exhaled nitric oxide, lung function, diary cards and quality of life.Methods
Nineteen mild-to-moderate asthmatic patients completed the study per protocol in randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, crossover fashion. Patients were required to stop their usual inhaled corticosteroid therapy for the duration of the study. Pa-tients were commenced instead on salmeterol (SM) 50 μg one puff twice daily + montelukast (ML) 10 mg once daily for 2-week washout periods prior to each randomized treatment, in order to prevent dropouts. Patients received 4 weeks of either CIC 200 μg two puffs once daily (08.00 h) + CIC-placebo (PL) two puffs once daily (20.00 h) + FP-PL two puffs twice daily (08.00 h and 20.00 h), or FP 125 μg two puffs twice daily (08.00 h and 20.00 h) + CIC-PL two puffs twice daily (08.00 h and 20.00 h). SM + ML were withheld for 72 h prior to post-washout visits and CIC or FP was withheld for 24 h prior to study visits.Results
There was no significant difference between CIC vs. FP for the primary outcome of methacholine PC20 as doubling dilution (dd) shift from respective baseline; mean difference: 0.4 dd (95% CI −0.4, 1.2). Moreover, there was no difference between treatments for the sequence of CIC first vs FP second; mean difference: 0.2 dd (95% CI −1.3, 1.7) or FP first vs CIC second; mean difference: 0.9 dd (95% CI −0.1, 1.8). There were also no differences for other secondary outcomes between treatments, either respective or irrespective of sequence, as change from baseline.Conclusions
There were no differences between 4 weeks of CIC 400 μg once daily and FP 250 μg twice daily on methacholine hyper-responsiveness in mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. Longer-term studies are indicated to evaluate their relative efficacy on asthma exacerbations.