October 31, 2003
Treatment Questioned for Wheezing in Children
Newswire) -- When a young child has a wheezing attack, it's recommended
the child be given oral steroid treatment. While this guideline
is common in the United States and the United Kingdom, a new study
questions the use of steroids. The research shows a course of
steroids was no more effective than placebo in reducing respiratory
symptoms or the need for hospital admission.
Episodic attacks of
wheeze triggered by viral cold are common in preschoolers. These
attacks are different from allergic asthma since the frequency
disappears by school age. The current recommendation is that parents
administer oral steroids at the first sign of an attack. But whether
or not the steroids are effective is controversial. Researchers
from the University of Leicester in England compared the outcomes
of children on steroids to those on a placebo.
More than 200 children
with a history of wheezing were part of the study. The children
were randomly assigned to a five-day course of oral prednisolone
or placebo to be given at the start of a wheeze attack. Parents
then recorded their children's respiratory symptoms and noted
if their child was taken to the hospital.
no difference in daytime or nighttime respiratory symptoms between
children who received the steroid and those who received the placebo.
They also found no difference in the symptoms or rate of hospital
admission between children with high or low levels of wheezing.
Surprisingly, study authors say more children on the steroid ended
up in the hospital than those on the placebo, though the numbers
were not statistically significant.
Study authors conclude
the findings of this study suggest the use of oral steroids may
need to be re-evaluated for preschool children with a viral wheeze.
This article was reported
by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day
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SOURCE: The Lancet,
article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts
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