Symbicort: More Effective Than Advair in COPD

In an analysis of data collected from the PATHOS trial and published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers found that COPD patients treated with Symbicort Turbuhaler (budesonide/formoterol) are significantly less likely to experience COPD exacerbations and to be hospitalized for COPD than those treated with Advair (fluticasone/salmeterol), also known as Seretide.

The PATHOS trial, conducted in Sweden over an 11 year period, analyzed medical records of 5,468 patients treated with an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and a long-acting beta agonist (LABA) between 1999 and  2009.

  Two groups of patients were formed: One group was treated with budesonide/formoterol with an equal number of patients treated with fluticasone/salmeterol.  For the purpose of the study, exacerbations were defined as some form of medical intervention, including hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and prescriptions of oral steroids or antibiotics due to a worsening of COPD.

Overall, being treated with budesonide/formoterol reduced the yearly rate of moderate-to-severe exacerbations by 26% compared with fluticasone/salmeterol. This reduction was apparent for all exacerbation events, such as antibiotic use, oral steroid use or admission to the hospital. Additionally, treatment with budesonide/formoterol reduced the yearly rates of COPD-related hospitalizations by 29% and hospital days due to COPD exacerbation were 34% fewer compared with fluticasone/salmeterol.

Study findings reveal the impact that these two treatment combinations have on patient outcomes, providing valuable information to health care providers, patients and insurance companies.

If you have COPD, have frequent exacerbations that require medical intervention, and are taking another ICS/LABA combo, talk to your doctor today about whether you might benefit from making the switch to Symbicort.


Astra Zeneca. Real world study comparing commonly prescribed COPD medicines shows choice of treatment has impact on patient outcomes. 19 March 2013.

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