Tachyphylaxis to systemic but not to airway responses during prolonged therapy with high dose inhaled salbutamol in asthmatics

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    High doses of inhaled salbutamol produce substantial improvements in airway response in patients with asthma, and are associated with dose-dependent systemic beta-adrenoceptor responses. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether tachyphylaxis occurs during prolonged treatment with high dose inhaled salbutamol. Twelve asthmatic patients (FEV1, 81 +/- 4% predicted), requiring only occasional inhaled beta-agonists as their sole therapy, were given a 14-day treatment with high dose inhaled salbutamol (HDS), 4,000 micrograms daily, low dose inhaled salbutamol (LDS), 800 micrograms daily, or placebo (PI) by metered-dose inhaler in a double-blind, randomized crossover design. During the 14-day run-in and during washout periods, inhaled beta-agonists were withheld and ipratropium bromide was substituted for rescue purposes. At the end of each 14-day treatment, a dose-response curve (DRC) was performed, and airway (FEV1, FEF25-75) chronotropic (HR), tremor, and metabolic (K, Glu) responses were measured at each step (from 100 to 4,000 micrograms). Treatment had no significant effect on baseline values. There were dose-dependent increases in FEV1 and FEF25-75 (p less than 0.001), and pretreatment with HDS did not displace the DRC to the right. DRC for HR (p less than 0.001), K (p less than 0.001), and Glu (p less than 0.005) were attenuated after treatment with HDS compared with PI. There were also differences between HDS and LDS for HR (p less than 0.001) and Glu (p less than 0.05) responses. Frequency and severity of subjective adverse effects were also reduced after HDS: tremor (p less than 0.001), palpitations (p less than 0.001).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)586-92
    Number of pages7
    JournalAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1989


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