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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 18 (2011), Issue 5, Pages 278-282
Original Article

Effects of a Short Course of Inhaled Corticosteroids in Noneosinophilic Asthmatic Subjects

Catherine Lemière,1 Caroline Tremblay,1 Mark FitzGerald,2 Shawn D Aaron,3 Richard Leigh,4 Louis-Philippe Boulet,5 James G Martin,6 Parameswaran Nair,7 Ronald Olivenstein,6 and Simone Chaboillez1

1Hôpital du Sacré–Cœur de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
2Vancouver General Hospital, University of British Columbia Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
3Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
4Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
5Laval Hospital, Université Laval, Sainte Foy, Canada
6Montreal Chest Institute, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
7St Joseph’s Healthcare, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Noneosinophilic asthma has been regarded as a distinct phenotype characterized by a poor response to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether noneosinophilic, steroid-naive asthmatic subjects show an improvement in asthma control, asthma symptoms and spirometry after four weeks of treatment with ICS, and whether they further benefit from the addition of a long-acting beta-2 agonists to ICS.

METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre study comparing the efficacy of placebo versus inhaled fluticasone propionate 250 μg twice daily for four weeks in mildly uncontrolled, steroid-naive asthmatic subjects with a sputum eosinophil count ≤2%. This was followed by an open-label, four-week treatment period with fluticasone propionate 250 μg/salmeterol 50 μg, twice daily for all subjects.

RESULTS: After four weeks of double-blind treatment, there was a statistically significant and clinically relevant improvement in the mean (± SD) Asthma Control Questionnaire score in the ICS-treated group (n=6) (decrease of 1.0±0.5) compared with the placebo group (n=6) (decrease of 0.09±0.4) (P=0.008). Forced expiratory volume in 1 s declined in the placebo group (−0.2±0.2 L) and did not change in the ICS group (0.04±0.1 L) after four weeks of treatment (P=0.02). The open-label treatment with fluticasone propionate 250 μg/salmeterol 50 μg did not produce additional improvements in those who were previously treated for four weeks with inhaled fluticasone alone.

CONCLUSION: A clinically important and statistically significant response to ICS was observed in mildly uncontrolled noneosinophilic asthmatic subjects.