Exhaled nitric oxide (NO) is a noninvasive marker of airway inflammation. Beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) is the only inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) available as both extrafine and nonextrafine hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI) formulation. The present study was designed to evaluate whether the different patterns of lung deposition of two HFA BDP formulations are associated with a different effect on bronchial and alveolar NO. This was a prospective double-blind, randomized, controlled, crossover study. After a 2-week placebo run-in period without ICSs, asthmatic patients were randomized to extrafine BDP, 100 μg, b.i.d. or nonextrafine BDP, 250 μg, b.i.d. for two 2-week periods separated by a 2-week washout period. Fourteen patients (5 men) with a mean age 37 years and mean baseline forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) of 83% of predicted were analyzed. Exhaled bronchial NO was significantly (p < 0.001) reduced in both treatment groups when compared with the last week of run-in period, whereas alveolar NO was significantly (p < 0.001) reduced only with extrafine BDP. Moreover, extrafine BDP was superior to nonextrafine BDP in both parameters (p < 0.05). Extrafine but not nonextrafine BDP HFA formulation lowers both bronchial and alveolar exhaled NO in asthmatic patients. ICS distribution throughout the whole bronchial tree could be important in patients who do not gain optimal control of inflammation with conventional nonextrafine ICS.
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