May 10, 2013 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Breo Ellipta (fluticasone furoate and vilanterol inhalation powder) for the long-term, once-daily, maintenance treatment of airflow obstruction in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema. It is also approved to reduce exacerbations of COPD in patients with a history of exacerbations.
COPD is a serious lung disease that worsens over time. Symptoms can include chest tightness, chronic cough and excessive phlegm. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Breo Ellipta works by decreasing inflammation in the lungs and helping the muscles around the airways of the lungs stay relaxed to increase airflow and reduce exacerbations in patients with COPD.
“COPD is a serious disease that makes breathing difficult,” said Curtis Rosebraugh, M.D., M.P.H., director, Office of Drug Evaluation II, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA. “The availability of new long-term maintenance medications provides additional treatment options for the millions of Americans who suffer with COPD.”
Breo Ellipta is a combination of fluticasone furoate, an inhaled corticosteroid, and vilanterol, a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA). The safety and efficacy of Breo Ellipta were evaluated in 7,700 patients with a clinical diagnosis of COPD. Those treated showed improved lung function and reduced exacerbations compared to placebo.
The drug carries a boxed warning that LABAs increase the risk of asthma-related death. The safety and efficacy of Breo Ellipta in patients with asthma have not been established, and it is not approved for the treatment of asthma.
The FDA approved Breo Ellipta with a patient medication guide that includes instructions for use and information about the potential risks of taking the drug. Breo Ellipta should not be used as a rescue therapy to treat sudden breathing problems (acute bronchospasm) and is not recommended for people younger than 18 years.
Breo Ellipta may cause serious side effects, including increased risks of pneumonia and bone fractures. The most common side effects reported by patients using Breo Ellipta included inflammation of the nasal passage (nasopharyngitis), upper respiratory tract infection, headache, and oral candidiasis (thrush).
Breo Ellipta was developed by GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, N.C., in collaboration with San Francisco-based Theravance.