Is there any evidence of symptomatic benefit of the use of long acting anti-muscarinics (muscarinic antagonists) in asthma
Population / Problem: Asthma (adult only) Intervention: Long-acting anti-muscarinic inhalers (e.g. tiotropium) in asthma Comparison: none specified Outcome: symptomatic benefit
Top papers identified
Long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMA) added to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) versus addition of long-acting beta2-agonists (LABA) for adults with asthma (2015)Kayleigh M Kew , David JW Evans , Debbie E Allison and Anne C Boyter
Direct evidence of LAMA versus LABA as add-on therapy is currently limited to studies of less than six months comparing tiotropium (Respimat) to salmeterol, and we do not know how they compare in terms of exacerbations and serious adverse events. There was moderate quality evidence that LAMAs show small benefits over LABA on some measures of lung function, and high quality evidence that LABAs are slightly better for quality of life, but the differences were all small. Given the much larger evidence base for LABA versus placebo for people whose asthma is not well controlled on ICS, the current evidence is not strong enough to say that LAMA can be substituted for LABA as add-on therapy.
The results of this review, alongside pending results from related reviews assessing the use of LAMA in other clinical scenarios, will help to define the role of these drugs in asthma and it is important that they be updated as results from ongoing and planned trials emerge.
Kayleigh M Kew and Karen Dahri
Tiotropium add-on may have additional benefits over LABA/ICS alone in reducing the need for rescue oral steroids in people with severe asthma. The effect was imprecise, and there was no evidence for other LAMA preparations. Possible benefits on quality of life were negligible, and evidence for the effect on serious adverse events was inconsistent. There are likely to be small added benefits for tiotropium Respimat 5 µg daily on lung function and asthma control over LABA/ICS alone and fewer non-serious adverse events. The benefit of tiotropium add-on on the frequency of hospital admission is still unknown, despite year-long trials.
Ongoing and future trials should clearly describe participants’ background medications to help clinicians judge how the findings relate to stepwise care. If studies test LAMAs other than tiotropium Respimat for asthma, they should be at least six months long and use accepted and validated outcomes to allow comparisons of the safety and effectiveness between different preparations.
Long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMA) added to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) versus the same dose of ICS alone for adults with asthma (2015)Debbie E Anderson , Kayleigh M Kew and Anne C Boyter
For adults taking ICS for asthma without a long-acting beta₂-agonist (LABA), LAMA given as add-on treatment reduces the likelihood of exacerbations requiring treatment with OCS and improves lung function. The benefits of LAMA combined with ICS for hospital admissions, all-cause serious adverse events, quality of life and asthma control remain unknown.
Results of this review, along with findings of related reviews conducted to assess the use of LAMA in other clinical scenarios involving asthma, can help to define the role of LAMA in the management of asthma. Trials of longer duration (up to 52 weeks) would provide a better opportunity to observe rare events such as serious adverse events and exacerbations requiring hospital admission.
David JW Evans , Kayleigh M Kew , Debbie E Anderson and Anne C Boyter
Only one randomised trial was found, comparing tiotropium add-on to increased dose beclomethasone. Differences between the treatments were too small or imprecise to understand whether adding a LAMA to ICS is safer or more effective than increasing the dose of ICS, and there is a possibility of carry-over effects due to the study’s cross-over design. LAMA add-on may lead to more improvement in lung function (FEV1) than an increased dose of ICS.
The results of this review, alongside pending results from related reviews assessing the use of LAMA against other treatments, will help to define the role of these drugs in asthma management, and this review should be updated as results from future trials emerge. Studies assessing the role of LAMA add-on should be longer and include a double-ICS treatment arm so that the results can be interpreted in the context of the guideline-recommended treatment options that are available to physicians.