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Asthma drugs need to be maintained for continued benefit
Date:2/17/2009

Children whose asthma improved while taking steroid drugs for several years did not see those improvements continue after stopping the drugs, new results from a comprehensive childhood asthma study show.

The results come from the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) clinical trial, in which more than 1,000 children age 5-12 were treated for mild to moderate asthma over more than four years at eight centers, including Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The children in the randomized trial were divided into three groups: one received twice-daily budesonide, an inhaled corticosteroid medication; one received nedocromil, an inhaled non-steroid medication; and one group received a placebo. All children received albuterol, a bronchodilator, and oral corticosteroids as needed for asthma symptoms.

This study, published in advance online publication of the Journal of Pediatrics, followed up with the children nearly five years after the end of the trial. Researchers found that the children, now in their late teens, who took the medications during the trial showed no difference in their asthma control compared with the children who received the placebo.

"The interesting thing is that as kids with asthma get older, they actually do better," said Robert C. Strunk, M.D., a Washington University pediatrician at St. Louis Children's Hospital and lead author of the study. "We used to say they were outgrowing their asthma. What we know now is that as they go from being young children to age 20, their airways get bigger. They still have asthma but don't have as much trouble from it."

Inhaled corticosteroids such as budesonide have been shown to be the most effective form of anti-inflammatory treatment for asthma by controlling symptoms and improving pulmonary function. Results from the original CAMP trial showed that using budesonide twice daily led to fewer hospitalizations and urgent care visits, fewer days in which additi
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Contact: Beth Miller
millerbe@wustl.edu
314-286-0119
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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