Background: Exhaled nitric oxide (ENO) is a noninvasive marker of ongoing inflammation in asthmatic patients. Comparison between inhaled and oral anti-inflammatory medications in reduction of ENO in asthmatic patients has not been performed. Objective: We measured changes in ENO, spirometry, need for rescue medication, quality of life (QOL), and diary scores (DS) after inhaled and oral anti-inflammatory therapy in adults with moderate asthma. Methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design with 4-week washout periods was used. A plateau level of ENO, measured in parts per billion (ppb), was obtained by chemiluminescence with a Sievers 280NOA as per American Thoracic Society recommendations. Eighteen asthmatic adults (15 Hispanic, with a percentage predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1%) of 50% to 85%) on bronchodilators (β2) only were studied. Subjects used fluticasone propionate (FP) metered-does inhaler (44 μg), two puffs twice daily, and matching placebo (PB) for 4 weeks. Eight of the asthmatic patients (7 Hispanic, FEV1% 50% to 85%) on bronchodilators only then received blinded zafirlukast (ZK) 20 mg and matching PB twice daily for 4 weeks. Results: Low-dose inhaled FP resulted in significant improvements in ENO, spirometry, QOL, DS, and β2 use. A significant difference in mean ENO was found (P < 0.01) before and after FP from 34 ± 7 ppb to 13 ± 3 ppb. A significant improvement was found (P < 0.05) with FEV1% from 75 ± 3 to 85 ± 3 with FP treatment. The other measured parameters, percentage predicted of peak expiratory flow rate, β2 need, DS, and QOL measurements, were improved with low-dose FP treatment. No significant reduction was found in ENO with oral ZK for 4 weeks. After oral ZK washout and the second extension arm of placebo, ENO significantly increased back to 47 ± 14 ppb (P < 0.05), but spirometry measures did not worsen. Significant improvements were found with DS and β2 use with oral ZK therapy. Conclusions: These results reveal ENO is reduced with only low-dose inhaled FP in asthmatic patients not on anti-inflammatory medication. In the smaller extension study, ENO was reduced with FP and not with oral ZK treatment, and ENO levels increased back to near prestudy levels after ZK washout and the second extension arm of placebo. As a marker of inflammation, ENO levels reveal an improvement with anti-inflammatory medication and worsening when it is discontinued.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine