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Risk of pneumonia with budesonide-containing treatments in COPD: an individual patient-level pooled analysis of interventional studies

Authors Hollis S, Jorup C, Lythgoe D, Martensson G, Regnell P, Eckerwall G

Received 21 November 2016

Accepted for publication 19 February 2017

Published 5 April 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1071—1084


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Sally Hollis,1 Carin Jorup,2 Dan Lythgoe,3 Gunnar Martensson,2 Pontus Regnell,2 Göran Eckerwall2

1AstraZeneca R&D, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, UK; 2AstraZeneca R&D, Gothenburg, Sweden; 3Phastar, Chiswick, London, UK

Background: Concerns have been raised that treatment of COPD with inhaled corticosteroids may increase pneumonia risk. Responding to a request from the European Medicines Agency Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee, a pooled analysis of interventional studies compared pneumonia risk with inhaled budesonide-containing versus non-budesonide-containing treatments and the impact of other clinically relevant factors.
Methods: AstraZeneca-sponsored, parallel-group, double-blind, randomized controlled trials meeting the following criteria were included: >8 weeks’ duration; ≥60 patients with COPD; inhaled budesonide treatment arm (budesonide/formoterol or budesonide); and non-budesonide-containing comparator arm (formoterol or placebo). Primary and secondary outcomes were time to first pneumonia treatment-emergent serious adverse event (TESAE) and treatment-emergent adverse event (TEAEs), respectively, analyzed using Cox regression models stratified by study.
Results: Eleven studies were identified; 10,570 out of 10,574 randomized patients receiving ≥1 dose of study treatment were included for safety analysis (budesonide-containing, n=5,750; non-budesonide-containing, n=4,820). Maximum exposure to treatment was 48 months. The overall pooled hazard ratio (HR), comparing budesonide versus non-budesonide-containing treatments, was 1.15 for pneumonia TESAEs (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.83, 1.57) and 1.13 for pneumonia TEAEs (95% CI: 0.94, 1.36). The annual incidence of pneumonia TESAEs was 1.9% and 1.5% for budesonide-containing and non-budesonide-containing treatments, respectively. Comparing budesonide/formoterol with non-budesonide-containing treatment, the HRs for pneumonia TESAEs and TEAEs were 1.00 (95% CI: 0.69, 1.44) and 1.21 (95% CI: 0.93, 1.57), respectively. For budesonide versus placebo, HRs were 1.57 for pneumonia TESAEs (95% CI: 0.90, 2.74) and 1.07 for pneumonia TEAEs (95% CI: 0.83, 1.38).
Conclusion: This pooled analysis found no statistically significant increase in overall risk for pneumonia TESAEs or TEAEs with budesonide-containing versus non-budesonide-containing treatments. However, a small increase in risk with budesonide-containing treatment cannot be ruled out; there is considerable heterogeneity in study designs and patient characteristics, particularly in the early budesonide studies, and each study contributes <40 pneumonia TESAEs.

Keywords: budesonide, COPD, inhaled corticosteroid, pneumonia

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