Roflumilast is the only oral phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor indicated for use in the treatment of COPD. Previous studies of roflumilast have predominantly involved European and North American populations. A large study was necessary to determine the efficacy and safety of roflumilast in a predominantly ethnic Chinese population.
In a placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group, multicenter, phase 3 study, patients of Chinese, Malay, and Indian ethnicity (N = 626) with severe to very severe COPD were randomized 1:1 to receive either roflumilast 500 μg once daily or placebo for 24 weeks. The primary end point was change in prebronchodilator FEV1 from baseline to study end.
Three hundred thirteen patients were assigned to each treatment. Roflumilast provided a sustained increase over placebo in mean prebronchodilator FEV1 (0.071 L; 95% CI, 0.046, 0.095 L; P < .0001). Similar improvements were observed in the secondary end points of postbronchodilator FEV1 (0.068 L; 95% CI 0.044, 0.092 L; P < .0001) and prebronchodilator and postbronchodilator FVC (0.109 L; 95% CI, 0.061, 0.157 L; P < .0001 and 0.101 L; 95% CI, 0.055, 0.146 L; P < .0001, respectively). The adverse event profile was consistent with previous roflumilast studies. The most frequently reported treatment-related adverse event was diarrhea (6.0% and 1.0% of patients in the roflumilast and placebo groups, respectively).
Roflumilast plays an important role in lung function improvement and is well tolerated in an Asian population. It provides an optimal treatment choice for patients with severe to very severe COPD.
ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT01313494; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov.