PURPOSE: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease that impairs both objectively measured lung function and patient-reported health status. In a randomized clinical trial of patients with moderate to severe COPD, we compared changes in health status after adding arformoterol tartrate or placebo to patients' treatment regimens.
METHODS: In this multicenter, double-blind trial, patients were randomized to receive nebulized arformoterol 15 µg BID (n = 420) or matched placebo (n = 421). Treatment with other COPD medications was permitted, except for long-acting β2-agonists. Inclusion criteria were a forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) ≤65% of predicted, FEV1 >0.50 L, age ≥40 years, smoking history ≥15 pack-years, and a baseline breathlessness severity grade ≥2. The Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ) was used to measure health status at randomization and at months 3, 6, and 12. CCQ scores range from 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating worse health status, and a decrease from baseline in total score by 0.4 point is considered clinically significant. Outcomes were analyzed by using mixed models for repeated measures.
FINDINGS: At baseline, patients' mean age was 63.8 years; 42.9% of patients were female, and 51.4% were current smokers. The mean baseline CCQ total scores were 2.88 and 2.91 for the arformoterol and placebo groups, respectively. A total of 841 patients were randomized to receive either arformoterol (n = 420) or placebo (n = 421); among them, 211 (50.1%) who received placebo and 255 (60.7%) who received arformoterol completed the trial. Arformoterol-treated patients had greater mean improvement from baseline in CCQ total score (-0.18 vs 0.02; P = 0.001), symptoms (-0.21 vs 0.01; P = 0.002), functional state (-0.15 vs 0.02; P = 0.018), and mental state (-0.18 vs 0.02; P = 0.023) than patients receiving placebo. At study end, 38.3% of the arformoterol-treated patients and 30.8% of patients receiving placebo reported clinically significant improvements on the CCQ (P = 0.026). These improvements were only modestly correlated with improvements in FEV1 (r = -0.15; P < 0.01).
IMPLICATIONS: In this 52-week trial, arformoterol-treated patients had greater improvements in health status than patients receiving placebo. Assessing health status along with lung function seems to provide additional information regarding the effectiveness of COPD maintenance treatments. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00909779.