Oral steroids ineffective in the treatment of preschool virus-induced wheezing
A new study from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry has found that a common treatment for wheezing in preschool children is no more effective than a placebo. The findings, reported in the January edition of The New England Journal of Medicine, call into question national guidelines for the treatment of viral-induced wheezing.
Attacks of wheezing caused by viral infections in the upper respiratory tract are common in preschool children between the ages of ten months and six years. Preschool children who visit hospital with such symptoms are commonly treated with a short course of prednisolone - a steroid which is used to reduce inflammation in the airway and which is very effective in treating attacks of allergic asthma in older children and adults.
It has recently been recognised that wheeze in most preschool children is only triggered by viral colds, and is therefore a different condition from 'allergic asthma'. There is conflicting evidence whether a short course of oral prednisone is effective in this age group.
Professor Jonathan Grigg, a paediatrician at Barts and The London's, Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, along with colleagues from Leicester and Nottingham Universities, studied a group of 700 children between the ages of 10 and 60 months, who presented to hospital with an attack of wheezing associated with a viral infection. Half were treated with oral prednisolone, half with a placebo, and symptoms monitored by health care professionals.
The team found no significant difference in the length of time the children spent in hospital between the placebo group and the prednisolone group. These findings were consistent with a previous study conducted by the team, where the oral steroid was administered by parents in the home.
Professor Grigg explains: "The result of this large trial suggests that oral prednisolone should not be routinely given to preschool children presenting to the hospital with virus-induced wheezing."
Source: Queen Mary, University of London
- Steroids ineffective in young children with wheezeMon, 23 Feb 2009, 12:59:13 EST
- Benefits of preschool vary by family incomeTue, 16 Nov 2010, 1:02:23 EST
- Amid rising childhood obesity, preschoolers found to be inactiveFri, 6 Feb 2009, 9:12:41 EST
- BPA exposure may be associated with wheezing in childrenSun, 1 May 2011, 3:51:32 EDT
- New treatment reduces severity of asthma attacks in preschoolersThu, 22 Jan 2009, 13:29:00 EST
- Oral steroids ineffective in the treatment of preschool virus-induced wheezingfrom Science CentricSat, 24 Jan 2009, 13:00:49 EST
- Oral Steroids Ineffective In Treatment Of Preschool Virus-induced Wheezing, Study Suggestsfrom Science DailyWed, 21 Jan 2009, 23:49:22 EST
- Steroids not effective for wheezing in children, studies suggestfrom CBC: HealthWed, 21 Jan 2009, 18:14:39 EST
- Oral steroids ineffective in the treatment of preschool virus-induced wheezingfrom PhysorgWed, 21 Jan 2009, 17:28:39 EST
- Studies: Steroids do not help wheezing kidsfrom AP HealthWed, 21 Jan 2009, 17:07:28 EST
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Mars had oxygen-rich atmosphere 4,000 million years ago
- Outlook is grim for mammals and birds as human population grows
- The contribution of particulate matter to forest decline
- Scientists find new source of versatility so 'floppy' proteins can get things done
- An environmentally friendly battery made from wood
- Even with defects, graphene is strongest material in the world
- Detection of the cosmic gamma ray horizon: Measures all the light in the universe since the Big Bang
- Genetic engineering alters mosquitoes' sense of smell
- Allosaurus fed more like a falcon than a crocodile, new study finds
- 'Popcorn' particle pathways promise better lithium-ion batteries