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Formoterol was more effective than terbutaline when taken as needed for moderate to severe asthma

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 QUESTION: In patients with moderate to severe asthma who use an inhaled corticosteroid but still require as needed medication, is formoterol (a long acting β2 agonist) more effective than terbutaline (a short acting β2 agonist) when used as needed?


12 week randomised (allocation concealed*), blinded (patients and investigators initially),* controlled trial.


35 centres in Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.


362 patients who were ≥18 years of age (mean age 47 y, 57% women); had had asthma for ≥6 months; had been treated with a constant dose of an inhaled corticosteroid for ≥4 weeks; had an FEV1 of ≥50% of the predicted value, which increased by ≥12% after inhalation of 1.5 mg of terbutaline; and used their relief inhaler about 3–8 times per day on ≥7 days of the 2 week run in period. Exclusion criteria were need for ≥12 inhalations of rescue medication during the …

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