In a new study, children whose asthma was poorly controlled with inhaled corticosteroids did not benefit from using a acid reflex medication.
Researchers noticed a link between gastroesophageal reflux (GER) disease and asthma in children and believed Prevacid may help poorly-controlled asthma.
"Ask your pediatrician about cost-effective ways to manage your child's asthma."
The study was led by Janet T. Holbrook, M.P.H., Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The clinical trial involved 306 children whose asthma was poorly-controlled with inhaled corticosteroid treatments from April 2007 until September 2010.
GER, also known as acid reflux, is when content from the stomach acid travels backwards into the esophagus. Prevacid is a proton pump inhibitor used to treat GER. Prevacid prevents the stomach from creating gastric acid which alleviates GER symptoms. Researchers believed that untreated GER may have been linked to poorly-controlled asthma.
Of the 306 children, 149 were given Prevacid and 157 were given a placebo. Researchers used an Asthma Control Questionnaire to measure any difference in regards to asthma control. Other measures tested included lung function, quality of life and poor asthma control episodes.
There was no difference in the improvement of asthma in either the Prevacid group or the placebo. Prevacid was not effective in helping to treat poorly-controlled asthma. Prevacid also had no effect on asthma in children who were diagnosed with GER.
In addition to Prevacid not being an effective treatment, Prevacid actually increased the number of serious complications. This included more worsening asthma symptoms, sore throats, upper respiratory tract infections and bronchitis.
In an additional editorial comment, Fernando D. Martinez, M.D., of the University of Arizona, warns against trying to overextend the use of a treatment.
Just because there may be some suggestion that a drug may work for a certain group does not mean it should be used in a population where that positive effect has not be proven.
Dr. Martinez believes, as the study has shown, that this “therapeutic creep” can lead to an increased risk of negative side effects without any additional advantages. This practice may have led to the increased cost of asthma medication according to Dr. Martinez.
Future studies may be needed to evaluate prolonged Prevacid usage for GER and increased risk of serious side effects. While Prevacid may not work, reducing exposure to irritants and air pollution may help improve poorly-controlled asthma.
This study was funded by grants from the American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Centers Infrastructure Award and National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Dr. Martinez has served as a consultant to MedImmune and has presented at an Abbott-sponsored seminar, no other known conflicts were reported.
This study was published in the January edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.