Role of arformoterol in the management of COPD

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Formoterol is a beta2-agonist that has both short and long acting bronchodilator effects. Beta2-agonists used as bronchodilators have been synthesized as racemates that comprise (R,R) and (S,S)-enantiomers. Compounds that are beta2-selective derive their bronchodilator effect from an interaction between the (R,R)-enantiomer and the beta2-adrenoceptor. Arformoterol is the (R,R)-enantiomer and is distinguished from the more commonly used racemic (RR/S,S)-diasteriomer of formoterol. Overall literature on the use of arformoterol in COPD is very preliminary. There is some in vitro data that demonstrate significant bronchodilation and inhibition of inflammation with arformoterol, and these effects may be more pronounced than those caused by racemic formoterol. There are limited clinical trial data that demonstrate that arformoterol produces significant improvement in lung function in COPD; however, many of the subjects involved had marked baseline airway reversibility. Arformoterol has been very well tolerated in clinical trials and could potentially be used only once every 24 hours (due to its prolonged effect). It can only be given in nebulized form. Arformoterol can potentially be given with other inhaled medications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-391
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of COPD
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2008


  • Arformoterol
  • COPD
  • Efficacy
  • Safety

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