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Symbicort: More Effective Than Advair in COPD

By March 25, 2013

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In an analysis of data collected from the PATHOS trial and published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers found that COPD patients treated with Symbicort Turbuhaler (budesonide/formoterol) are significantly less likely to experience COPD exacerbations and to be hospitalized for COPD than those treated with Advair (fluticasone/salmeterol), also known as Seretide.

The PATHOS trial, conducted in Sweden over an 11 year period, analyzed medical records of 5,468 patients treated with an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and a long-acting beta agonist (LABA) between 1999 and  2009.  Two groups of patients were formed: One group was treated with budesonide/formoterol with an equal number of patients treated with fluticasone/salmeterol.  For the purpose of the study, exacerbations were defined as some form of medical intervention, including hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and prescriptions of oral steroids or antibiotics due to a worsening of COPD.

Overall, being treated with budesonide/formoterol reduced the yearly rate of moderate-to-severe exacerbations by 26% compared with fluticasone/salmeterol. This reduction was apparent for all exacerbation events, such as antibiotic use, oral steroid use or admission to the hospital. Additionally, treatment with budesonide/formoterol reduced the yearly rates of COPD-related hospitalizations by 29% and hospital days due to COPD exacerbation were 34% fewer compared with fluticasone/salmeterol.

Study findings reveal the impact that these two treatment combinations have on patient outcomes, providing valuable information to health care providers, patients and insurance companies.

If you have COPD, have frequent exacerbations that require medical intervention, and are taking another ICS/LABA combo, talk to your doctor today about whether you might benefit from making the switch to Symbicort.


Astra Zeneca. Real world study comparing commonly prescribed COPD medicines shows choice of treatment has impact on patient outcomes. 19 March 2013.

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March 27, 2013 at 12:42 am
(1) Kooky says:

I think I’ll stick to Advair. Even with a 30% FEV1, I haven’t been in the hospital due to an exacerbation in 17 years and I hardly ever get sick enough anymore to need antibiotics or prednisone (knock on wood) so I think I’ll leave well enough alone! Thanks for the article though!

March 27, 2013 at 7:17 am
(2) Bonnie says:

Thanks for the article. It’s good to know in case things change for me, in which case I’ll discuss it with my doctor.

April 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm
(3) Deb says:

Please fill us in on your secret weapon. You don’t sound like a person with Copd. No hospitals or sickness for along time. You must be doing something we aren’t. Please share your secret. Thanks.

April 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm
(4) beagle says:

they swithced me to budesnide{(sp after hospital stay and that was the reason

April 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm
(5) dustyguy says:

I’ve been on Advair since 2000. I used to get lung infections all the time. Winter was the worse time. I’m in Nicaragua now and I never get lung infections. No phlegm. I still use Advair but only once per day. In the states I was on advair, Spiriva and a nose inhaler. Here I’m doing ten times better and only on Advair. I’m still short winded but nothing like in the states. I wish we had Advair when my family was alive. They all died from this disease. Mom, Dad, sister and brother. All gone. All were younger than I am now. Medical technology is moving so fast we may all be well in a few years. I thank God I don’t have to drag a bottle around like my family did. I’m sticking to Advair. It works for me….

April 8, 2013 at 4:42 am
(6) Louise says:

I’m binning my Seritide , Iv had 7 bad copd attacks this year . When I first took Seritide it helped but I feel it just delayed it all to come at once . A change is as good as a rest , so they say . Just hope my GP agrees with me .

May 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm
(7) Angelo says:

I’ m taking seretide for Asthma and it’s workin’ well…
Does this study say something about side effects of corticosteroid therapy for a considerable period ? This kind of data could be of some interest if you news to take a drug for a lifetime….

July 19, 2013 at 9:07 pm
(8) JackR says:

I have Alpha-1 with an FEV1 of 27. I used Advair for over three years but honestly didn’t know if it helped me. At my request I had my Pulminologist change me to Symbicourt. The change was an obvious improvement. My breathing improved and my use of the temporary albuterol inhalers were considerably less. If you haven’t tried Symbicourt, ask your doctor for a prescription and look at their website to order a card giving you the first one free.

July 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm
(9) Jill says:

I was tested for COPD by a Pulmonary specialist. He put me through a battery of tests. he said I had Moderate COPD , but I had good air flow in my lungs. I did not need oxygen. I have never been to the emergency room , doctor , or anywhere else for any breathing problems . I do have a shortness of breath when I walk , do chores , or most anything else. I have gained a lot of weight and am bad out of shape. But the doctors say it is from my COPD . Yet I am never sick .

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