Treatments for Children with Severe Asthma

Sputum eosinophil counts did not improve asthma control in children with severe asthma

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(RxWiki News) Management systems are important in controlling chronic diseases like asthma. Using inflammation as a guide to treating asthma did not improve asthma control.

Researchers compared using an inflammation-based management with a symptom-based management system to see if it was as effective in controlling asthma.

The inflammation-based management system was not ineffective but it did not improve asthma control or reduce symptoms when compared to a symptom-based system.

"Talk to your doctor about your child's asthma management plan."

The research was led by Dr. Louise Fleming from the Department of Respiratory Pediatrics at the Royal Brompton Hospital. To compare the two symptoms, researchers divided 55 children with severe asthma into two groups, one receiving treatment using a symptom-based management strategy and the other group receiving treatment using an inflammation-based management strategy.

While using inflammation as a guide to manage asthma was not a better alternative it may help a certain subgroup of severe asthma sufferers.

Researchers used eosinophil in the mucus of children to determine inflammation. An eosinophil is a white blood cell that is produced by the immune system to combat foreign bodies. Too many eosinophils can lead to an increase in inflammation and damage the lungs.

The 55 children, whose age ranged between seven and 17, were seen three times a month for a year. There was no significant difference between the two groups when it came to the number of children with severe asthma attacks or the amount of inhaled corticosteroids prescribed to children. While there were small differences between the two groups when it came to the number of symptom-free days and bronchodilator use, it was not enough to be statistically significant.

One area that the inflammation-based group was better than the symptom-based method was in short-term relief. The inflammation-based management group had fewer asthma attacks within 28 days of the study. Future research can better understand why this was the case including targeting a particular subgroup of children with severe asthma which could mean better symptom treatment.

Inflammation-based management strategies worked to help manage asthma but it was not a better alternative to using the more common symptom-based management strategy.

The ease and effectiveness of the symptom-based strategy for asthma management makes it an ideal choice for many patients but the inflammation-based strategy may be effective for a subgroup of children with severe asthma.

No funding information was provided. No author conflicts were reported.

This study was published in the March edition of Thorax.

Last Updated:
February 26, 2012