AstraZeneca‘s Novel Symbicort Turbuhaler Asthma Reliever Therapy (START) trial has demonstrated the effectiveness of its Symbicort Turbuhaler (budesonide/formoterol) as a potential anti-inflammatory reliever in mild asthma.

Patients with mild asthma were randomised in the trial to receive either albuterol, budesonide plus albuterol, or Symbicort Turbuhaler used as an anti-inflammatory reliever therapy, all taken as needed.

The 52-week open-label trial of 668 patients found a 51% reduction in the rate of asthma attacks in patients with mild asthma compared to albuterol.

No difference was found in the exacerbation rate between Symbicort Turbuhaler and twice-daily maintenance budesonide plus albuterol, despite a 52% reduction in the mean steroid dose with Symbicort Turbuhaler.

Data from the Novel Start trial supports the findings of the Sygma I and II trials published in May last year.

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Conducted by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Novel Start was funded by a research grant from AstraZeneca. Core institutional funding was provided by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

AstraZeneca Therapy Area vice-president Alex de Giorgio-Miller said: “The Novel Start trial demonstrates the effectiveness of Symbicort as an anti-inflammatory reliever to reduce the risk of asthma attacks in patients with mild disease, compared with the most commonly used asthma reliever.

“In a trial that reflects real-world practice, these data reinforce evidence from the Sygma trials and build on the established clinical profile of Symbicort in moderate-to-severe disease.”

Upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, and asthma were the most commonly reported adverse events in the trial.

The primary objective of the Novel Start trial was to assess the efficacy of Symbicort Turbuhaler given as an anti-inflammatory reliever as-needed in adults with mild asthma.