Effectiveness of inhaled corticosteroids in controlling acute asthma exacerbations in children at home

B. Volovitz, M. Nussinovitch, Y. Finkelstein, L. Harel, I. Varsano

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Many clinicians advise their patients to increase the dose of inhaled corticosteroids during acute asthma exacerbations, without strong clinical evidence supporting this treatment. This study investigates the effectiveness of inhaled corticosteroids in controlling acute asthma exacerbations in children at home. The study population consisted of children with mild intermittent, mild and moderate persistent asthma aged 1 to 14 years who were treated in our outpatient clinic with inhaled budesonide for 1 year. After participating in an asthma education session, the parents were instructed to initiate treatment with inhaled budesonide at the first signs of asthma exacerbation, starting with 200 to 400 pg budesonide, in combination with beta-2 agonists 4 times a day and followed by a decrease in the dose in 4 to 8 days. Asthma status and peak expiratory flow rates were measured in the 3 monthly follow-up visits. Only children who complied with the treatment regimen and came for follow-up visits regularly were included in the final analysis. One hundred fifty children used our treatment protocol with inhaled budesonide to control their asthma attacks. Glinical improvement of asthma symptoms was achieved after a mean of 1.8 ±0.7 days from the beginning of treatment. The parents were able to control 94% of the 1,061 episodes of asthma exacerbation occurring during a cumulative follow-up period of 239 years. In the 3-month period before enrollment, 101 children (67%) had used oral corticosteroids to control their asthma attacks and 50 (33%) were hospitalized. During the entire follow-up period, only 11 children (7%) used oral corticosteroids, and none of the children were hospitalized. The present study demonstrates that children with asthma can control their exacerbations at home using inhaled corticosteroids (budesonide). Treatment, starting with relatively high doses followed by a rapid reduction in dose over 4-8 days, resulted in a decrease in the use of oral steroids and in hospitalization. To achieve good results, patient compliance is essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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