Indacaterol: a comprehensive review
Andrea Rossi,1 Guido Polese2
1Pulmonary Unit, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Department, University and General Hospital, 2Pulmonary Service, Department of Rehabilitation, Verona, Italy
Abstract: At present there is no cure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, some nonpharmacologic treatments, such as rehabilitation and lung volume reduction surgery, as well as pharmacologic intervention, can relieve some of the patient's symptoms and improve quality of life, while also reducing the rate of exacerbations and hospitalizations. There needs to be a paradigm shift away from the unjustified nihilistic approach to COPD towards considering it a preventable and treatable disease. After patients quit smoking and start to lead healthier lifestyles, long-acting bronchodilators, such as long-acting beta-adrenergic agents (LABA) and long-acting antimuscarinic agents (LAMA), are recommended as the cornerstone of treatment for COPD, either as monotherapy or in combination. COPD is characterized by a reduced maximum expiratory flow and slow forced emptying of the lungs, which progress over time and are not completely reversible. In this condition, gas gets trapped in the lungs and pulmonary hyperinflation occurs. LABA and LAMA improve airway patency and deflate the lungs. Indacaterol is the first once-daily LABA approved for treatment of COPD, and is administered by inhalation through the Breezhaler® device. The speed of bronchodilation is similar to that with salbutamol (ie, about five minutes) and longer (ie, 24 hours) than that with traditional LABA, with the same 12-hour effect as salmeterol and formoterol, both of which require twice-daily administration. This is why indacaterol has been called the ‘‘ultra-LABA’’. On the one hand, the fast onset of action provides immediate relief of symptoms, and on the other, its constant 24-hour bronchodilation provides ‘‘pharmacologic stenting’’ which facilitates lung emptying, thereby decreasing trapped gas and pulmonary hyperinflation. Once-daily administration of a fast and long-acting bronchodilator can improve patient adherence with therapy, which is known to be a major problem for many medical treatments. Dose-finding trials have shown that 75 µg is the minimum dose needed to achieve clinically important improvement. However, indacaterol 150 µg and 300 µg achieve an even greater improvement in lung function and patient-oriented outcomes. Further, these two doses of indacaterol significantly reduce pulmonary hyperinflation, thereby improving exercise tolerance and ability to perform day-to-day activities. It is more effective on lung volumes at the 300 µg dose than formoterol, and better than salmeterol and tiotropium at the 150 µg dose, at least in the acute setting. It is noteworthy that few studies document these results in patients with COPD and moderate airflow obstruction. These are exactly the kind of patients our research should be concentrating on, in view of the accelerated decay in forced expiratory volume in one second at this stage of the disease. Finally, all the relevant studies show that indacaterol is consistently well tolerated by patients with COPD at every stage, and that it has a high safety profile.
Keywords: indacaterol, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
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