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Use of a 4-week up-titration regimen of roflumilast in patients with severe COPD

Authors Watz H, Bagul N, Rabe KF, Rennard S, Alagappan VKT, Román J, Facius A, Calverley PMA

Received 13 October 2017

Accepted for publication 28 December 2017

Published 6 March 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 813—822

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S154012

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Henrik Watz,1 Nitin Bagul,2 Klaus F Rabe,3,4 Stephen Rennard,5,6 Vijay KT Alagappan,7 Jonas Román,8 Axel Facius,9 Peter MA Calverley10

1Pulmonary Research Institute at LungenClinic Grosshansdorf, Airway Research Center North, German Center for Lung Research, Grosshansdorf, Germany; 2DNA Medical Ltd, Langley, UK; 3Department of Pulmonary Medicine, LungenClinic Grosshansdorf, Airway Research Center North, German Center for Lung Research, Grosshansdorf, 4Department of Medicine, Christian Albrecht University Kiel, Kiel, Germany; 5Department of Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA; 6AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK; 7AstraZeneca, Gaithersburg, MD, USA; 8AstraZeneca R&D, Gothenburg, Sweden; 9thinkQ2 AG, Baar, Switzerland; 10Department of Clinical Sciences, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Background: The oral selective phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor roflumilast (ROF) reduces exacerbations in patients with severe COPD. Adverse events (AEs) can cause early ROF discontinuation. Alternative dosing strategies may help patients continue their therapy.
Methods: In this multicenter, double-blind trial, 1,321 patients with severe COPD were randomized 1:1:1 to 4 weeks’ treatment with ROF 250 µg once daily (OD), 500 µg every other day (EOD), or 500 µg OD, each followed by ROF 500 µg OD for 8 weeks, plus standard therapy. The primary end point was the percentage of patients prematurely discontinuing study treatment.
Results: Patients in the 250 µg OD/500 µg OD group had significantly fewer treatment discontinuations (odds ratio [OR] 0.66 [95% CI 0.47–0.93], p=0.017) and lower rates of AEs of interest such as diarrhea, nausea, headache, decreased appetite, insomnia and abdominal pain (OR 0.63 [95% CI 0.47–0.83], p=0.001) compared with those in the 500 µg OD group. Although rates of discontinuation and AEs of interest were numerically lower with ROF 500 µg EOD/500 µg OD, the difference was not significant (OR 0.76, p=0.114, and OR 0.78, p=0.091, respectively) compared with ROF 500 µg OD.
Conclusion: A dose of ROF 250 µg OD for 4 weeks before escalation to the approved maintenance dose of 500 µg OD resulted in reduced treatment discontinuation and improved tolerability.

Keywords: roflumilast, COPD, discontinuation, adverse event

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