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Roflumilast and dyspnea in patients with moderate to very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pooled analysis of four clinical trials

Authors Rennard S, Sun S, Tourkodimitris S, Rowe P, Goehring U, Bredenbröker D, Calverley PM

Received 11 October 2013

Accepted for publication 16 December 2013

Published 24 June 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 657—673

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S55738

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Stephen I Rennard,1 Shawn X Sun,2 Stavros Tourkodimitris,2 Paul Rowe,2 Udo M Goehring,3 Dirk Bredenbröker,3 Peter M A Calverley4

1Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA; 2Forest Research Institute, Jersey City, NJ, USA; 3Takeda Pharmaceuticals International GmbH, Zurich, Switzerland; 4Department of Clinical Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Purpose: Breathlessness is a predominant symptom of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), making it a valuable outcome in addition to lung function to assess treatment benefit. The phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor roflumilast has been shown to provide small but significant improvements in dyspnea, as measured by the transition dyspnea index (TDI), in two 1-year studies in patients with severe to very severe COPD.
Patients and methods: To provide a more comprehensive assessment of the impact of roflumilast on dyspnea, post hoc analyses of four 1-year roflumilast studies (M2-111, M2-112, M2-124, and M2-125) in patients with moderate to very severe COPD were conducted.
Results: In this pooled analysis (N=5,595), roflumilast significantly improved TDI focal scores versus placebo at week 52 (treatment difference, 0.327; P<0.0001). Roflumilast was associated with significantly greater TDI responders and significantly fewer TDI deteriorators (≥1-unit increase or decrease from baseline, respectively) versus placebo at week 52 (P<0.01, both); these significant differences were apparent by week 8 and maintained until study end (P<0.05, all). At study end, the postbronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second improvement in TDI responders was significantly greater with roflumilast versus placebo (P<0.05). Similar to the overall population, improvements in TDI focal scores at week 52 were small but consistently significant over placebo in patients with chronic bronchitis, regardless of exacerbation history, concomitant treatment with short-acting muscarinic antagonists or long-acting β2-agonists, or pretreatment with inhaled corticosteroids.
Conclusion: This analysis shows that patients treated with roflumilast to reduce exacerbation risk may also experience small but significant improvements in dyspnea, with accompanying improvements in lung function.

Keywords: phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor, breathlessness, lung function, subgroup analyses

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