Randomized controlled trial of triple versus dual inhaler therapy on small airways in smoking asthmatics

Sunny Jabbal, Chris RuiWen Kuo, Brian Lipworth (Lead / Corresponding author)

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Smoking worsens underlying asthma inflammation and also induces resistance to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Small airways dysfunction measured by impulse oscillometry (IOS) is associated with worse control. Objectives: We investigated the effects on small airways of adding long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) alone or with long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) to ICS in asthmatic smokers.

Methods: Sixteen current smokers were enrolled: mean age 44 year, FEV1 84%, FEF25-75 47%, R5 158%, ACQ 1.69, 20 pack year. Patients were converted to a reference ICS as HFA-BDP during initial run-in at median dose of 800 µg/day. Open label olodaterol 5 µg od (OLO) or olodaterol 5 µg/tiotropium 5 µg od (OLO/TIO) was added to HFA-BDP for median duration of 3 weeks in a randomized cross over design, including run-in and washout periods on HFA-BDP. IOS and spirometry were measured after each treatment (BDP/OLO/TIO or BDP/OLO) and at baseline after run-in and washout (BDP).

Results: After chronic dosing, IOS outcomes at trough except for R20 were all significantly improved with OLO/TIO compared to OLO. For the primary end-point of total airway resistance (as R5), the mean difference (95%CI) at trough was 0.06 (0.015-0.10) kPa/l/s, peripheral airways resistance (as R5-R20) 0.03 (0.003-0.06) kPa/l/s, peripheral lung reactance area (as AX) 0.38 (0.08-0.68) kPa/l and resonant frequency (as RF) 2.28 (0.45-4.12) Hz. FEF25-75 at trough was also better with OLO/TIO vs TIO: 0.93 (0.86 - 0.95) l/s while FEV1 was not different.

Conclusions: ICS/LABA/LAMA was superior to ICS/LABA on trough small airway outcomes in asthma patients who smoke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1140-1147
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Issue number10
Early online date7 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • asthma
  • pneumology
  • quality of life
  • small airways
  • smoking
  • triple therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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