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Monitoring exhaled nitric oxide does not help manage asthma
Date:9/19/2008

of NIAID. "Although this study reinforces the importance of the NIH asthma guidelines for disease control, it did not find that measuring exhaled nitric oxide provided any additional clinical benefit."

The new research was led by Stanley Szefler, M.D., of National Jewish Health in Denver, in conjunction with William Busse, M.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two equal-sized groups: one group received treatment based on the NIH National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines alone, and the other received treatment based on the guidelines plus measurement of exhaled NO. The year-long study compared participants' symptoms and asthma exacerbations.

According to Dr. Szefler, "The hypothesis was that adding exhaled NO monitoring to the NIH asthma guidelines-based approach would improve asthma control over the guidelines-based approach alone." Researchers had hoped that exhaled NO would indicate if there was a need for increased treatment dosage in the participants who had few asthma symptoms but who had ongoing high levels of lung inflammation. Although measuring exhaled NO is not routine practice in asthma management, this study was aimed at determining whether it should be included in treating patients in the future.

In the end, the study found that the group whose treatment was guided by exhaled NO did not end up with fewer or less severe asthma symptoms or fewer asthma exacerbations compared with the group that received treatment based on the NAEPP guidelines alone.

Most patients in each group had marked improvement in their asthma initially and throughout the study, highlighting the importance of optimizing asthma treatment according to the NIH guidelines. According to Dr. Busse, the upside of the study is that "good adherence to the current guidelines [for treating asthma patients] can mean good disease management without the need for a biomarker.
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Contact: Julie Wu
wujuli@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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