Higher doses of drug helps treat asthma
High doses of inhaled corticosteroids are effective in reducing the severity and duration of asthma attacks triggered by colds, Canadian researchers said.
Study leader Dr. Francine Ducharme of Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center and the University of Montreal found that high doses of corticosteroids — fluticasone — when inhaled at the onset of a cold and taken for up to 10 days, reduces the number of moderate or severe asthma attacks that require emergency oral steroids.
The breakthrough is all the more important, since this age group represents more than half — 60 percent — of children that go to emergency departments or are admitted to hospital for asthma attacks, the researchers said.
The basic treatment for asthma, which consists of administering weak doses of inhaled steroids such as fluticasone on a daily basis, has not proven to be effective in children with viral-induced asthma, Ducharme said.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, said the new therapeutic approach was tested in 129 children age 12 months to 6 years. By increasing the usual pediatric dose six-fold over a maximum of 10 days and beginning administration as soon as colds started, the team noted a 50 percent decrease in asthma attacks that required oral steroids in children.