Corticosteroid-sparing options in the treatment of childhood asthma

P J Helms

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During the last 30 years, a significant rise in wheezing illness has occurred in the child population. Despite its high prevalence there is no clear definition of the disease, which includes a heterogeneous group of syndromes ranging from transient wheezing in infancy to atopic asthma with persistence into adult life. Molecular advances and further epidemiological information from well characterised individuals and their families are likely to clarify the different subtypes of wheezing illness and inform therapeutic options. With the recognition that chronic airway inflammation is a feature of persistent disease, at least in adults, then has been a trend towards the early introduction of anti-inflammatory treatment and particularly inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). However, the natural resolution of much wheezing illness, particularly in young children and in children with viral-induced episodes, suggests that newly presenting children should remain on symptomatic therapy alone while the severity of the disease is being assessed. Although ICS have become a cornerstone of management of chronic persistent disease, their ability to protect against exacerbations in young and mildly affected children is questionable. Alongside concerns about long term use of ICS and possible systemic adverse effects, there remains a need for alternative approaches to the control of the disease in children. Extrapolation of the findings of large multicentre adult studies into childhood, particularly for doubling the doses of ICS and long-acting beta(2)-agonists, may be unsound. Other approaches include the early introduction of inhaled cromones, use of second generation antihistamines, low dose theophyllines and, more recently, leukotriene modifiers. As the majority of preschool children will become asymptomatic by mid-childhood, there is an urgent need to identify those in whom chronic airway inflammation is developing, as it is in this group that early introduction of ICS may be of maximum benefit. In the remainder, other approaches, including use of corticosteroid-sparing long-acting beta(2)-agonists and leukotriene modifying drugs, may be more appropriate. Safe and effective oral preparations such as leukotriene modifying drugs are likely to establish a significant role in the management of symptoms in children of all ages and with all types of asthma and wheezing illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalDrugs
Volume59
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • INHALED BECLOMETHASONE DIPROPIONATE
  • PLACEBO-CONTROLLED TRIAL
  • SKIN-TEST REACTIVITY
  • LONG-TERM TREATMENT
  • RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS
  • PREPUBERTAL CHILDREN
  • 14-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN
  • ALLERGEN AVOIDANCE
  • PULMONARY-FUNCTION
  • VIRAL-INFECTION

Cite this

Corticosteroid-sparing options in the treatment of childhood asthma. / Helms, P J .

In: Drugs, Vol. 59, 2000, p. 15-22.

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

Helms, P J . / Corticosteroid-sparing options in the treatment of childhood asthma. In: Drugs. 2000 ; Vol. 59. pp. 15-22.
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AB - During the last 30 years, a significant rise in wheezing illness has occurred in the child population. Despite its high prevalence there is no clear definition of the disease, which includes a heterogeneous group of syndromes ranging from transient wheezing in infancy to atopic asthma with persistence into adult life. Molecular advances and further epidemiological information from well characterised individuals and their families are likely to clarify the different subtypes of wheezing illness and inform therapeutic options. With the recognition that chronic airway inflammation is a feature of persistent disease, at least in adults, then has been a trend towards the early introduction of anti-inflammatory treatment and particularly inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). However, the natural resolution of much wheezing illness, particularly in young children and in children with viral-induced episodes, suggests that newly presenting children should remain on symptomatic therapy alone while the severity of the disease is being assessed. Although ICS have become a cornerstone of management of chronic persistent disease, their ability to protect against exacerbations in young and mildly affected children is questionable. Alongside concerns about long term use of ICS and possible systemic adverse effects, there remains a need for alternative approaches to the control of the disease in children. Extrapolation of the findings of large multicentre adult studies into childhood, particularly for doubling the doses of ICS and long-acting beta(2)-agonists, may be unsound. Other approaches include the early introduction of inhaled cromones, use of second generation antihistamines, low dose theophyllines and, more recently, leukotriene modifiers. As the majority of preschool children will become asymptomatic by mid-childhood, there is an urgent need to identify those in whom chronic airway inflammation is developing, as it is in this group that early introduction of ICS may be of maximum benefit. In the remainder, other approaches, including use of corticosteroid-sparing long-acting beta(2)-agonists and leukotriene modifying drugs, may be more appropriate. Safe and effective oral preparations such as leukotriene modifying drugs are likely to establish a significant role in the management of symptoms in children of all ages and with all types of asthma and wheezing illness.

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KW - SKIN-TEST REACTIVITY

KW - LONG-TERM TREATMENT

KW - RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS

KW - PREPUBERTAL CHILDREN

KW - 14-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN

KW - ALLERGEN AVOIDANCE

KW - PULMONARY-FUNCTION

KW - VIRAL-INFECTION

M3 - Literature review

VL - 59

SP - 15

EP - 22

JO - Drugs

JF - Drugs

SN - 0012-6667

ER -