Introduction: This study aimed to investigate the dose-response and pharmacology of a range of single doses of nebulised ensifentrine (RPL554), an inhaled dual phosphodiesterase (PDE) 3/4 inhibitor in patients with asthma. Methods: In this randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study, patients received single nebulised doses of ensifentrine 0.4, 1.5, 6 and 24 mg, salbutamol 2.5 and 7.5 mg, and placebo. Eligible patients were adults with asthma, pre-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) 60–90% predicted and ≥1.5 L, with post-salbutamol FEV1 increase ≥15%. The co-primary objectives were peak and average FEV1 over 12 h for ensifentrine vs placebo and salbutamol. Secondary endpoints included: peak and average systolic and diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate and ECG heart rate; and safety and tolerability (adverse events [AEs], and serum potassium). ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02427165. Results: A total of 29 patients were randomised, with 25 (89%) completing the study. For the two co-primary endpoints there was a clear ensifentrine dose-response relationship, with all treatments superior to placebo (p < 0.001). There was no relationship between the ensifentrine dose and AE incidence or blood pressure. Ensifentrine 0.4, 1.5 and 6 mg had significantly lower effects than both salbutamol doses on pulse and heart rates. Ensifentrine did not impact potassium, whereas there was a was a dose-related reduction for salbutamol. Inhalation of ensifentrine resulted in a dose-related increase in plasma exposure. Conclusions: Single-dose ensifentrine demonstrated dose-dependent bronchodilation, and was as effective as a therapeutic dose of nebulised salbutamol. All ensifentrine doses were similarly well tolerated, and did not show the characteristic β2-agonist systemic adverse effects.
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