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New treatment reduces severity of asthma attacks in preschoolers
Date:1/22/2009

This release is available in French.

Montreal, January 22, 2009 The largest study of its kind on preschoolers has demonstrated that preventive treatment with high doses of inhaled corticosteroids is effective in reducing the severity and duration of asthma attacks triggered by colds. Dr. Francine Ducharme, assistant director of clinical research at the Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center and a pediatrics professor at the Universit de Montral, led the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The research team found that high doses of corticosteroids (fluticasone), when inhaled at the onset of a cold and taken for up to 10 days, reduces the number of moderate or severe asthma attacks that require emergency oral steroids. This is the first study whose findings clearly demonstrate the treatment's efficacy in young children requiring oral corticosteroids or hospital admission because of the severity of this type of asthma attack.

The breakthrough is all the more important, since this age group represents more than half (60 percent) of children that go to emergency departments or are admitted to hospital for asthma attacks. Although viral-induced asthma is frequent in preschool-aged children, optimal management of this disease remains elusive. That's why Dr. Ducharme has focused her research on improving treatment for asthmatic children, particularly those of preschool age.

The basic treatment for asthma, which consists of administering weak doses of inhaled steroids such as fluticasone on a daily basis, has not proven to be effective in children with viral-induced asthma. For the purposes of the study, 2243 children were screened. Some 17 percent met the criteria for having asthma that was triggered solely by colds, no signs of allergy and had not experienced moderate to severe asthma attacks or symptoms betwee
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Contact: Melanie Dallaire
melanie.dallaire.hsj@ssss.gouv.qc.ca
514-345-7707
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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