Nebulized arformoterol: What is its place in the management of COPD?

Division of Pulmonary Critical Care, Allergy and Immunologic Disease, Department of Internal Med., Wake Forest Schl of Med, Winston, Salem, NC, USA.
Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease (Impact Factor: 1.95). 11/2012; 7(2). DOI: 10.1177/1753465812465784
Source: PubMed


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious global health burden. Comprehensive management of COPD includes both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions aimed at improving disease-related functional capacity, health-related quality of life, and survival. The primary medications used for treatment of COPD are inhaled bronchodilator drugs which are delivered directly to the patient's airways through a number of different mechanisms. Arformoterol, the (R,R) enantiomer of racemic formoterol, was the first long-acting beta agonist approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for nebulized delivery. We discuss the pharmacology, clinical efficacy, and safety of arformoterol, and provide recommendations for its use during longitudinal management of patients with COPD.

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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: The global initiative for chronic obstructive lung disease guidelines recommend maintenance therapy using long-acting bronchodilators for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who have daily symptoms. Arformoterol is the (R, R) - enantiomer of the racemic formoterol and is more potent than (R, R/ S, S) - formoterol. Areas covered: Currently, arformoterol is one of two nebulized long-acting β-agonists on the market. It has a low incidence of cardiovascular side effects with incidence of arrhythmia and ischemia similar to placebo. β-adrenergic adverse effects are infrequent, numerically lower than formoterol, but have a quicker onset of action than salmeterol. There was no observed clinical tolerance over 12 months. arformoterol is safe in combination therapy with inhaled corticosteroids, tiotropium and rescue inhalers. A 12-month Phase IV trial found no increased risk of respiratory death or COPD exacerbation-related hospitalizations. arformoterol can potentially benefit patients with hyperinflation and low inspiratory flow rates. Expert opinion: The introduction of the centers for medicare and medicaid services penalization for COPD readmissions may boost the appeal of long-acting bronchodilators as new discharge medications. With the advent of ultra long-acting bronchodilators, its potential as a once daily agent in isolation or combination with these new therapies needs further study.
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