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There are no studies on withdrawal of inhaled corticosteroids in patients on long-term triple therapy in the absence of frequent exacerbations. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of direct de-escalation from long-term triple therapy to indacaterol/glycopyrronium in nonfrequently exacerbating patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This 26-week, randomized, double-blind, triple-dummy study assessed the direct change from long-term triple therapy to indacaterol/glycopyrronium (110/50 μg once daily) or continuation of triple therapy (tiotropium [18 μg] once daily plus combination of salmeterol/fluticasone propionate [50/500 μg] twice daily) in nonfrequently exacerbating patients with moderate-to-severe COPD. Primary endpoint was noninferiority on change from baseline in trough FEV1. Moderate or severe exacerbations were predefined secondary endpoints. A total of 527 patients were randomized to indacaterol/glycopyrronium and 526 to triple therapy. Inhaled corticosteroids withdrawal led to a reduction in trough FEV1 of -26 ml (95% confidence interval, -53 to 1 ml) with confidence limits exceeding the noninferiority margin of -50 ml. The annualized rate of moderate or severe COPD exacerbations did not differ between treatments (rate ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.83 to 1.40). Patients with ≥300 blood eosinophils/μl at baseline presented greater lung function loss and higher exacerbation risk. Adverse events were similar in the two groups. In patients with COPD without frequent exacerbations on long-term triple therapy, the direct de-escalation to indacaterol/glycopyrronium led to a small decrease in lung function, with no difference in exacerbations. The higher exacerbation risk in patients with ≥300 blood eosinophils/μl suggests that these patients are likely to benefit from triple therapy. Clinical trial registered with (NCT 02603393).


Kenneth R Chapman, John R Hurst, Stefan-Marian Frent, Michael Larbig, Robert Fogel, Tadhg Guerin, Donald Banerji, Francesco Patalano, Pankaj Goyal, Pascal Pfister, Konstantinos Kostikas, Jadwiga A Wedzicha. Long-Term Triple Therapy De-escalation to Indacaterol/Glycopyrronium in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (SUNSET): A Randomized, Double-Blind, Triple-Dummy Clinical Trial. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. 2018 Aug 01;198(3):329-339

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PMID: 29779416

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