Formoterol: a review of its use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.Am J Respir Med. 2002; 1(4):285-300.AJ
Inhaled formoterol is a long-acting selective beta2-adrenoceptor agonist, with an onset of action of 5 minutes postdose and a bronchodilator effect that lasts for at least 12 hours. Statistically significant and clinically relevant (>120 ml) improvements in lung function [assessed using standardized/normalized area under the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) versus time curve (AUC FEV1)] were observed with inhaled formoterol 12 microg twice daily (the approved dosage in the US) compared with placebo in 12-week and 12-month, randomized, double-blind trials in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The bronchodilator efficacy of formoterol 12 microg twice daily was greater than that of oral slow-release theophylline (individualized dosages) in a 12-month trial or inhaled ipratropium bromide 40 microg four times daily in a 12-week trial. Improvement in AUC FEV1 with formoterol, but not theophylline, compared with placebo was observed in patients with irreversible or poorly-reversible airflow obstruction. Formoterol also significantly improved health-related quality of life compared with ipratropium bromide or placebo and significantly reduced symptoms compared with placebo. Combination therapy with formoterol 12 microg twice daily plus ipratropium bromide 40 microg four times daily was significantly more effective than albuterol (salbutamol) 200 microg four times daily plus the same dosage of ipratropium bromide in a 3-week, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, crossover trial. Inhaled formoterol was well tolerated in clinical trials. The incidence of investigator-determined drug-related adverse events with inhaled formoterol 12 microg twice daily was similar to that with placebo and inhaled ipratropium bromide 40 microg four times daily but lower than that with oral slow-release theophylline (individualized dosages). Importantly, there were no significant differences between formoterol and placebo or comparator drugs in cardiovascular adverse events in patients with COPD and corrected QT interval values within the normal range. In conclusion, inhaled formoterol improved lung function and health-related quality of life and reduced symptoms relative to placebo in clinical trials in patients with COPD. The drug had greater bronchodilator efficacy than oral slow-release theophylline or inhaled ipratropium bromide and showed efficacy in combination with ipratropium bromide. The adverse events profile (including cardiovascular adverse events) with formoterol was similar to that with placebo. Thus, inhaled formoterol may be considered as a first-line option for the management of bronchoconstriction in patients with COPD who require regular bronchodilator therapy for the management of symptoms.