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Inhaled Steriods Used as Preventive Treatment Post 9/11
Date:10/24/2007

Popular Asthma Medication Linked to Respiratory Improvement in NYC

Firefighters

CHICAGO, Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), antiinflammatory treatments often prescribed for asthma, may be beneficial in preventing respiratory illness, according to a new study. The research, presented at CHEST 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), examined the effectiveness of ICS in preventing asthma and other respiratory illness due to inhalation exposures experienced by NYC firefighters after the World Trade Center (WTC) collapse. Two years post-collapse, those firefighters treated with ICS reported positive feedback.

"Respiratory protection is often needed during disasters, but it is difficult to get it instantly, and many responders, without EMS or fire experience, have not been trained or fit-tested to wear equipment properly. Couple this with a disaster environment that is difficult in which to function, and it leads to exposures that could result in lung damage," said study author David Prezant, MD, FCCP, Chief Medical Officer, Office of Medical Affairs and Co-Director WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Programs, New York City Fire Department. "However, our preliminary data suggest that combining prophylactic inhaled corticosteroids with our best attempts to provide proper respiratory protection could reduce declines in lung function."

One week post-WTC attack, Dr. Prezant and his colleagues from the New York City Fire Department offered ICS to NYC firefighters. Participating firefighters were told to use the ICS inhaler daily for 4 weeks. Two years post-WTC collapse, Dr. Prezant and coinvestigators from Montefiore Medical Center, New York University College of Medicine, and the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Israel, offered free, voluntary evaluations of respiratory symptoms and function to the treated firefighters and a comp
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SOURCE American College of Chest Physicians
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