News from the FDA/CDC

FDA approves triple-therapy inhaler for COPD

Vera De Palo, MD, FCCP, comments: For our Gold 3 and 4 patients who have had hospitalizations, the prescription of multiple classes of inhaled medication is common. These patients are often on other medications, with complicated regimens. A patient’s medication list can become the time-schedule-map which consumes much of the day. This has significant impact on the patient’s life, finances, and the likelihood of compliance with medications. For those on triple therapy, the approval of this triple-therapy combination inhaler may offer hope for increased compliance with therapy.


The Food and Drug Administration has approved Trelegy Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/umeclidinium/vilanterol), a triple-therapy inhaler for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adult patients, according to a press release from GlaxoSmithKline and Innoviva.

Trelegy Ellipta combines an inhaled corticosteroid, a long-acting muscarinic antagonist, and a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist into an inhaler meant for once-daily use in people with COPD. Chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema patients are also indicated for treatment. The FDA-approved dosage is 100 mcg of fluticasone furoate, 62.5 mcg of umeclidinium, and 25 mcg of vilanterol.

FDA icon Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/FitzColinGerald/Creative Commons License
The most common adverse events associated with Trelegy Ellipta include headache, back pain, dysgeusia, diarrhea, cough, oropharyngeal pain, and gastroenteritis, and the inhaler is contraindicated for people with “severe hypersensitivity to milk proteins.” Trelegy Ellipta is not indicated for people with asthma or acute bronchospasm.

“This approval represents a significant therapeutic convenience for those appropriate patients already on Breo Ellipta, that require additional bronchodilation or for those patients already on a combination of Breo Ellipta and Incruse Ellipta,” Mike Aguiar, CEO of Innoviva said in the press release.

In results supporting the FDA approval, the IMPACT study, a 52-week phase 3 clinical trial including 10,355 COPD patients sponsored by GSK, found that patients receiving Trelegy Ellipta experienced a 25% reduction in moderate to severe exacerbations compared to patients receiving Anoro Ellipta, and a 15% reduction in moderate to severe exacerbations, compared with patients receiving Relvar/Breo Ellipta. Change from baseline FEV1, change from baseline scores on the St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire, and time to first moderate/severe COPD exacerbation also were improved in the Trelegy Ellipta study group compared to the others.

“This is the first study to report a comparison of a single inhaler triple therapy with two dual therapies, providing much needed clinical evidence about the ability of a single inhaler triple therapy to reduce exacerbations,” Patrick Vallance, President of R&D at GSK, noted in a press release announcing the results of the IMPACT study.

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