The presence of emphysema does not affect the systemic bioactivity of inhaled fluticasone in severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Article date: April 2004

By: Daniel K. C. Lee, Brian J. Lipworth, in Volume 57, Issue 4, pages 388-392


To assess the systemic bioactivity of fluticasone proprionate (FP) 2000 µg daily on sensitive adrenal and bone markers in severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients with or without significant emphysema.


Ten patients without emphysema (COPD group: age 55 years, FEV1 51% predicted and DLCO 83% predicted) and 10 patients with emphysema (COPDE group: age 59 years, FEV1 43% predicted and DLCO 49% predicted) received FP 2000 µg daily via a spacer for 2 weeks. There was a 1‐week washout period prior to FP treatment where patients were given salmeterol and oxitropium, after stopping their usual inhaled corticosteroids for the duration of the study. Measurements including overnight 10 h urinary cortisol excretion corrected for creatinine (OUCC) and serum osteocalcin concentrations were performed at baseline following washout and after 2 weeks of FP.


Values for OUCC and serum osteocalcin concentrations pre‐ and post‐FP were not significantly different between the COPD and COPDE groups. There was significant suppression of OUCC (nmol mmol−1) by FP treatment within the COPD group (P = 0.03): 7.86 vs 4.64 (95% CI on the difference 0.47, 5.98), and within the COPDE group (P = 0.006): 7.13 vs 4.27 (95% CI on the difference: 1.03, 4.69). Likewise, there was significant suppression of osteocalcin concentration (nmol l−1) by FP treatment within the COPD group (P = 0.04): 7.24 vs 6.34 (95% CI on the difference: 0.01, 1.78), and within the COPDE group (P = 0.03): 6.92 vs 5.72 (95% CI on the difference: 0.12, 2.29).


Severe COPD patients who are receiving high dose FP are susceptible to the development of systemic adverse effects, irrespective of the presence of emphysema.

DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2125.2003.02026.x

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