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Sunday 01 December 2002

Children with mild asthma: do they benefit from inhaled corticosteroids?

By: Arets HG, Kamps AW, Brackel HJ, Mulder PG, Vermue NA, van der Ent CK.

Eur Respir J 2002 Dec;20(6):1470-5

In children with mild asthma, who show hardly any abnormalities in pulmonary function, objective measurement of the effect of inhaled corticosteroids is difficult. The short term effect of fluticasone propionate (FP) in these children was evaluated, using both subjective and objective parameters. A total of 68 children (5-10 yrs old) were randomly assigned to either FP 250 microg or placebo twice daily as metered-dose inhaler via spacer during 12 weeks. Symptom scores, use of rescue medication, wheezing, parent global evaluation and pulmonary function tests including forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), peak expiratory flow (PEF) and bronchial responsiveness (provocation dose of methacholine causing a 20% fall in FEV1 (PD20)) were evaluated. FP-treated versus placebo-treated children showed significant changes in percentage symptom-free days, use of beta2-mimetics, morning and evening PEF, FEV1 % pred and wheezing. No significant improvements were found in parent global evaluation, absolute values of FEV1 nor PD20. These findings show that inhaled corticosteroids are effective in children with mild asthma. This effect can be assessed by both objective and subjective parameters. Early start of inhaled corticosteroids should be considered even when pulmonary function is normal.

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