Inhaled corticosteroids, known to be effective as a maintenance medication in chronic asthma, have also been suggested as a therapy for acute asthma when given at high doses.
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in children aged 2 to 12 years with moderate or severe acute asthma, as determined based on a clinical score of 5 to 15 points, where 15 is the most severe. We compared the addition of budesonide 1,500 μg vs placebo to standard acute asthma treatment, which included salbutamol, ipratropium bromide, and a single dose of prednisolone 2 mg/kg given at the beginning of therapy. The primary outcome was hospital admission rate within 4 h.
A total of 906 ED visits by children with moderate or severe acute asthma were evaluated. Seventy-five cases out of 458 (16.4%) in the budesonide group vs 82 of 448 (18.3%) in the placebo group were admitted (OR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.58-1.23; P = .38). However, among cases with high baseline clinical score (≥ 13), significantly fewer children were admitted in the budesonide group (27 of 76 [35.5%]) than in the placebo group (39 of 73 [53.4%]; OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.19-0.94; P = .03).
The addition of budesonide nebulization did not decrease the admission rate of children with acute asthma overall. However, it may decrease the admission rate of children with severe acute asthma.
ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT01524198; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov