Comparison of oral bambuterol and terbutaline in elderly patients with chronic reversible airflow obstruction

C. F. McDonald, R J. Pierce, P. J. Thompson, D. Allen, S. Bowler, A. B.X. Breslin, G. Bowes, N. Saunders, K. Murree-Allen, P. Frith, A. W. Musk

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Bambuterol, a carbamate prodrug of terbutaline, is the first once-daily oral β2-agonist. The effect/side effect ratio of bambuterol oral solution was compared with terbutaline mixture in elderly patients with chronic reversible obstructive airways disease. The study was of a double-blind, crossover, randomized design and consisted of a 4-7-day run-in period followed by four consecutive treatment periods each of 2 weeks. The treatments were bambuterol solution 20 mg nocte (B20), 10 mg nocte (B10), terbutaline mixture 3 mg t.i.d., (T), and placebo solution (P). Patients measured daily peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), asthma symptoms, use of inhaled β2-agonist, and tremor. Of 84 patients, 66 completed all periods. Mean age was 67 years (60-90), basal FEV1 1.49 L, and reversibility of FEV1 30%. Ninety-four percent of the patients used inhaled/oral steroids in constant dosage. All treatments were significantly more effective than placebo. B20 resulted in higher morning PEFR than T (306 ± 2.9 L/min vs. 297 ± 2.9 L/min), while B10 gave equivalent results to T. No differences were seen in the use of inhaled β2-agonist. Less shortness of breath was experienced during the night with B20 and during the day with B10 compared with placebo. Both B20 and T produced more tremor than B10 and P. In elderly patients with chronic reversible airways obstruction once-daily bambuterol (10-20 mg) has a better effect/side effect ratio than 3 mg terbutaline thrice daily.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Bambuterol
  • Effect/side effect ratio
  • Elderly patients
  • Oral β-agonists
  • Reversible COAD
  • Terbutaline


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