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Clinical Investigations: NEBULIZERS |

The Protective Effect of Salbutamol Inhaled Using Different Devices on Methacholine Bronchoconstriction*

Daniele Giannini, MD; Antonella Di Franco, MD; Elena Bacci, MD; Federico Lorenzo Dente, MD, FCCP; Mauro Taccola, MD; Barbara Vagaggini, MD; Pierluigi Paggiaro, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Cardio-Thoracic Department, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Correspondence to: Daniele Giannini, MD, U.O. Fisiopatologia Respiratoria, Ospedale di Cisanello, via Paradisa 2, 56100 Pisa, Italy



Chest. 2000;117(5):1319-1323. doi:10.1378/chest.117.5.1319
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Study objective: To determine the protective effect of salbutamol, 100 μg, inhaled by different devices (pressurized metered-dose inhaler [pMDI; Ventolin; GlaxoWellcome; Greenford, UK], pMDI + spacer [Volumatic; GlaxoWellcome], or breath-activated pMDI[ Autohaler; 3M Pharmaceuticals; St. Paul, MN]) on bronchoconstriction induced by methacholine.

Design: Randomized, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled study.

Patients: Eighteen subjects with stable, moderate asthma, asymptomatic, receiving regular treatment with salmeterol, 50 μg bid, and inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate, 250 μg bid, in the last 6 months, with high hyperreactivity to methacholine (baseline provocative dose of methacholine causing a 20% fall in FEV1[ PD20] geometric mean [GM], 0.071 mg). Subjects were classified into two groups: subjects with incorrect (n = 5) pMDI inhalation technique, and subjects with correct (n = 13) inhalation technique.

Methods and measurements: After cessation of therapy for 3 days, all subjects underwent four methacholine challenge tests, each test 1 week apart, each time 15 min after inhalation of salbutamol, 100 μg (via pMDI, pMDI + spacer, or Autohaler), or placebo. The protective effect on methacholine challenge test was evaluated as the change in the PD20, and expressed in terms of doubling doses of methacholine in comparison with placebo treatment.

Results: The PD20 was significantly higher after salbutamol inhalation than after placebo inhalation, but no significant difference was observed among the three different inhalation techniques. Only when salbutamol was inhaled via pMDI + spacer, PD20 was slightly but not significantly higher (pMDI GM, 0.454 mg; pMDI + spacer GM, 0.559 mg; and Autohaler GM, 0.372 mg; not significant [NS]) than other inhalation techniques. Similar results (mean ±SEM) were obtained with doubling doses of methacholine (pMDI, 2 ± 0.47; pMDI + spacer, 3 ± 0.35; and Autohaler, 2.4 ± 0.40; NS). No significant difference was found among techniques when subjects with correct or incorrect inhalation technique were separately considered.

Conclusions: Our data show that the protective effect of salbutamol, 100 μg, on methacholine-induced bronchoconstriction is not affected by the different inhalation techniques, although inhalation via pMDI + spacer tends to improve the bronchoprotective ability of salbutamol. These data confirm the clinical efficacy of salbutamol, whatever the device, and the patient’s inhalation technique.

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