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Wednesday 01 March 2006

Short-term lower leg growth in asthmatic children treated with inhaled beta2-agonists.

By: Plomgaard AM, Schou AJ, Wolthers OD.

Ann Hum Biol 2006 Mar-Apr;33(2):135-41

BACKGROUND: Knemometry studies of growth suppressive effects of inhaled glucocorticoids in children with asthma usually allow participating children to use concomitant inhaled beta2-agonists. Systemic beta2-agonists, however, have been found to suppress growth hormone secretion and this has caused concern about a possible confounding effect of inhaled beta2-agonists on results of growth studies of exogenous glucocorticoids. AIM: The study evaluated whether inhaled salbutamol adversely affects short-term growth. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Fifteen children aged 6-12 years with mild asthma were enrolled in a single-blind, randomized crossover study with two 2-week treatment periods and a 1-week run-in. During the active period treatment dry powder salbutamol (Ventoline Diskhaler) 200 microg was inhaled three times a day. During the comparative period no treatment was given. Knemometry of the right lower leg was performed on the first and the last day of each period. RESULTS: Mean lower leg growth rates (SEM) during no-treatment and salbutamol periods were 0.35 (0.06) and 0.42 (0.07) mm per week, respectively (P = 0.35, t = -0.98, 95% CI: 0.25-0.93 mm per week). CONCLUSIONS: Inhaled salbutamol 200 microg three times daily does not suppress short-term growth in asthmatic children. Inhaled beta2-agonists in equipotent doses and regimens can be safely used in short-term knemometric growth studies of exogenous glucocorticoids without any risk of confounding the results.

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