Ciclesonide is a novel inhaled corticosteroid (ICSs) approved in most countries for the management of persistent asthma. Although inhaled corticosteroids are first-line therapy in the treatment of asthma, long term use and high-doses of these products may result in significant side effects. When developing a new ICSs, the goal is to identify a drug with comparable (or superior) efficacy to active comparators, and an improved safety profile. Ciclesonide is a prodrug which is administered through a hydrofluoroalkane- propellant metered dose inhaler (HFA-MDI). Once it reaches the lungs, the parent compound is metabolized by esterases to des- isobutyryl ciclesonide (des-CIC), an active metabolite with a 100-fold greater affinity for the glucocorticoid receptor. Ciclesonide has a unique pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic profile which confers an improved therapeutic ratio. Several clinical trials have shown that its efficacy is superior to placebo and similar to several active comparators. However, its high pulmonary deposition and on-site activation minimizes the risk for local side effects. Also, its low oral bioavailability, high hepatic clearance, and extensive plasma protein binding, among other factors, decrease the risk for systemic side effects. Doses of ciclesonide as high as 1280 µg/day (ex-actuator) result in minimal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression, a measure commonly used to assess systemic bioavailability for an ICSs. This review will provide a summary of ciclesonide’s role in the management of asthma, including a discussion of relevant clinical trials designed to evaluate its efficacy and safety.
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