Low-dose inhaled fluticasone propionate versus oral zaf irlukast in the treatment of persistent asthma

Eugene R. Bleecker, Michael J. Welch, Steven F. Weinstein, Christopher Kalberg, Marty Johnson, Lisa Edwards, Kathleen A. Rickard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Background: Few studies have compared the efficacy of inhaled corticosteroids and leukotriene modifiers for the treatment of persistent asthma. Objective: Our purpose was to compare the efficacy of a low dose of inhaled fluticasone propionate (FP) with that of oral zafirlukast in the treatment of persistent asthma previously treated with short-acting β2-agonists alone. Methods: A 12-week, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, multicenter study was conducted in 451 patients aged 12 years and older with asthma who were symptomatic on short-acting β2-agonists alone. After an 8- to 14-day run-in period, patients were randomized to treatment with FP 88 μg twice daily or zafirlukast 20 mg twice daily. Results: Treatment with FP was more effective than treatment with zafirlukast in increasing morning FEV1 (by 0.42 L vs 0.20 L over baseline, P < .001), morning peak expiratory flow (by 49.94 L/min vs 11.68 L/min over baseline, P < .001), and evening PEF (by 38.91 L/min vs 10.50 L/min over baseline, P < .001). Statistically significant differences between the two treatments in FEV1 were noted after the first observation (week 4) and in morning and evening peak expiratory flow by week 2. Mean change in percentage of symptom-free days was greater with FP than with zafirlukast (28.5% of days vs 15.6% of days, P < .001) and FP significantly increased the percentage of rescue-free days by 40.4% of days compared with 24.2% of days with zafirlukast (P < .001). Treatment with FP significantly reduced albuterol use by 2.39 puffs per day compared with 1.45 puffs per day (P < .001) and increased the percentage of nights with no awakenings by 21.2% of nights compared with 8.0% of nights with zafirlukast (P < .001). Conclusion: The clinical effectiveness of a low dose of FP as first-line therapy in patients with persistent asthma who are symptomatic on β2-agonists alone is superior to that of zafir-lukast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1123-1129
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6 II
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Fluticasone propionate
  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Leukotriene modifiers
  • Zafirlukast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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