Published: 3 May 2021

Authors: Lissa Sutherland, Karen Shaw, Clair Parrish, Nicola Singleton, Tricia M. McKeever, Iain Stewart, Dominick Shaw, Matthew J. Martin, Tim Harrison

Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 188


    Background and objective

    Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a non-invasive biomarker that reflects IL-4/IL-13 production and therefore represents T2 allergic inflammation. FeNO has previously been used to guide inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) treatment in asthma. The purpose of this study was to determine if a low FeNO (≤27 ppb) could be used to reliably identify patients with symptoms suggestive of asthma who would not benefit from initiating treatment with an ICS.


    A total of 180 steroid-naïve adults with healthcare professional suspected asthma and an FeNO of ≤27 ppb were randomized to receive either 400 mcg of budesonide or placebo daily for 3 months. The primary outcome was the difference in the Asthma Control Questionnaire 7 (ACQ7) between treatment groups and the study was powered to determine equivalence. Secondary outcomes were the difference in FEV1, Medical Research Council and Leicester Cough Questionnaire scores.


    One hundred and thirty-four patients (68 budesonide and 66 placebo) completed the study and were included in the analysis. The between-group mean difference in ACQ7 from baseline to the end of the study was −0.25 and the 95% CI around this difference was −0.004 to 0.495 confirming equivalence (p < 0.05). Differences in forced expiratory volume over 1 s and other secondary outcomes were also small and clinically unimportant.


    The results of this study suggest that steroid-naïve patients with symptoms suggestive of asthma and an FeNO ≤ 27 ppb are unlikely to benefit from initiating treatment with an ICS over 3 months. However, further research is recommended to confirm these findings before withholding ICS treatment.

    Link to full article

    Have you read

    View all