Protection against Methacholine Bronchoconstriction to Assess Relative Potency of Inhaled β2-Agonist
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The purposes of this study were to estimate the relative dose potency (RP) of two formulations of salbutamol pressurized metered-dose inhalers (Proventil-HFA and Ventolin-CFC MDIs) to protect against methacholine bronchoconstriction, to validate this method and provide recommendations. The protective effects of 100-, 200-, and 400-micrograms doses of Proventil-HFA were compared with the same doses of Ventolin-CFC in 18 adult asthmatics (mean FEV1, 92% predicted; mean baseline PC20 methacholine, 1.8 mg/ml), in a dose-level blind, balanced, eight-period, crossover, placebo-controlled study. The log-transformed PC20 values after each dose of the drugs were compared by repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). A significant dose-effect was present (p < 0.0001). Using the Finney assay, the RP of Proventil-HFA compared with Ventolin-CFC was 1.08 (90% CI, 0.81-1.46) (80% power). This was also estimated using a nonlinear Emax model to validate the Finney method. The most precise estimate of RP was obtained with the comparison between 100- and 200-micrograms doses (RP, 1.00; 90% CI, 0.77-1.31). There were no adverse events resulting from the drugs or methacholine. We conclude that Proventil-HFA salbutamol is bioequivalent to Ventolin-CFC salbutamol. Bronchoprotection to methacholine is a valid method of demonstrating bioequivalence. By this method, 100- and 200-micrograms doses of salbutamol inhalations from an MDI will suffice.
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