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Daily wheezing treatment no different from intermittent in toddlers
Date:11/28/2011

Pediatricians often treat young children who have frequent bouts of wheezing with a daily dose of an inhaled steroid to keep asthma symptoms at bay. But results of a recent study are likely to change that.

A group of pediatric asthma researchers nationwide, including at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found that daily inhaled steroid treatment was no different from preventing wheezing episodes than treating the child with higher doses of the drug at the first signs of a respiratory tract infection. They also found that daily treatment was comparable to use of the inhaled steroid intermittently at decreasing the severity of respiratory-tract illnesses, reducing the number of episode-free days or school absences, lowering the need for a "rescue" inhaler for acute asthma symptoms, improving quality of life or reducing visits to urgent care or the emergency room.

The researchers, who make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Childhood Asthma Research and Education (CARE) Network, studied nearly 300 preschool-age children with frequent wheezing and at high risk for future persistent asthma in a trial called MIST (Maintenance and Intermittent Inhaled Corticosteroids in Wheezing Toddlers). Their findings are published in the Nov. 24, 2011, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

"We wanted to understand how to best treat young children who have repeated episodes of wheezing, most of whom appear symptomatic just when they have colds," says Leonard B. Bacharier, MD, a Washington University pediatric asthma and allergy specialist at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "Our goal was to start therapy at the first signs of a viral respiratory tract infection or cold to interrupt or slow the progression of symptoms. This trial was aimed to try to prevent wheezing severe enough that requires oral steroids and really gets in the way of children's lives."

A 2006 study by the same group of researcher
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Contact: Beth Miller
millerbe@wustl.edu
314-286-0119
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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