Study: Formoterol is safe in most patients with asthma

Concerns exist that regular long-acting beta(2)-adrenergic agonist (LABA) therapy may increase the risk of serious asthma-related events.

Data were from 13,542 formoterol-randomized and 9968 non-LABA patients 4 years or older (42 trials), of whom 93% and 89%, respectively, received inhaled corticosteroid.

Incidence of all-cause death was low (n=3 and n=4, respectively), with numerically lower all-cause deaths/1000 patient-treatment years in the formoterol-treated group (0.53) versus the non-LABA group (0.82).

Asthma-related hospitalizations/1000 patient-treatment years were lower numerically in the formoterol-treated group (12.1) versus the non-LABA group (16.4).

This meta-analysis showed no evidence of increased risk of asthma-related hospitalization or no asthma-related deaths. A a low incidence of all-cause death and asthma-related intubation were seen with formoterol-containing versus non-LABA treatment.


Safety of formoterol in patients with asthma: combined analysis of data from double-blind, randomized controlled trials. Nelson H, Bonuccelli C, Radner F, Ottosson A, Carroll KJ, Andersson TL, LaForce C. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Feb;125(2):390-396.e8.
Asthma drug formoterol (part of ICS/LABA combo Symbicort and Dulera) causes weight loss when taken orally
Mometasone/formoterol 100/10 mcg b.i.d. showed greater clinical efficacy than its individual components in asthma. ERJ, 2012.
Image source: Combination formulation containing budesonide and formoterol - unopened Symbicort Turbuhaler (left) and opened (middle and right), Wikipedia, public domain.

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