Children with mild asthma can use inhalers as needed: Study


WASHINGTON: Researchers suggest that children with mild asthma can effectively manage the condition by using their two inhalers, one steroid, and the other bronchodilator when symptoms occur.

This is in contrast to the traditional method of using the steroid daily, regardless of symptoms, and the bronchodilator when symptoms occur. The as-needed use of both inhalers is just as effective for mild asthma as the traditional protocol, according to the study published in the journal — Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice’

The steroid inhaler lowers inflammation, and the bronchodilator, also known as a rescue inhaler, relaxes the airway during an asthma attack to quickly make breathing easier.

“We were pleased to find that as-needed treatment based on symptoms can deliver similar asthma control with less medication. Patients in the group that used both inhalers as needed to be used about one-fourth the steroid dose of the group that inhaled a prescribed daily amount,” said Kaharu Sumino, associate professor of medicine.

“We also were pleased to see that the patients and families felt that they had more ownership over their asthma management when practicing as-needed treatment,” added Prof Sumino, MD, also the first author of the research.

The study was conducted by primary care doctors at multiple pediatric practices throughout the St Louis area, suggesting the strategy is widely applicable in a primary care setting and not just effective when implemented by researchers at a single academic medical center.

Past clinical trials conducted in the highly controlled settings of academic medical centers had suggested that the medication-as-needed approach worked just as well as a traditional strategy of daily scheduled steroid treatments with a rescue inhaler as needed.

Not only is this alternative, as-needed, symptom-based strategy effective when administered by the children’s primary care doctors, but the researchers also found that approach reduced the amount of steroid medication the children took monthly by almost 75 per cent.