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Comparing the efficacy and safety of two regimens of sequential systemic corticosteroids in the treatment of acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma

Author(s): Aggarwal Praveen | Bhoi Sanjeev

Journal: Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock
ISSN 0974-2700

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 231;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Acute asthma | asthma score | hydrocortisone | methylprednisolone | prednisolone

Background : Corticosteroids are commonly used in the management of acute asthma. However, studies comparing various steroids in the management of acute asthma are lacking. Objective : To compare the efficacy and safety of two treatment regimens - intravenous (IV) methylprednisolone (MP) followed by oral MP and IV hydrocortisone (HC) followed by oral prednisolone in acute bronchial asthma patients. Materials and Methods : This was a randomized, prospective study performed in the emergency department (ED) of a tertiary care hospital in North India. A total of 94 patients with acute asthma were randomly allocated to either of the two treatment groups: Group A (n = 49) or Group B (n = 45). Patients in Group A were administered HC 200 mg IV 6-hourly until discharge from the ED, followed by oral prednisolone 0.75 mg/kg daily for 2 weeks. Patients in Group B were administered MP 125 mg IV bolus, followed by 40 mg MP IV 6-hourly until discharge, and then oral MP 0.6 mg/kg daily for 2 weeks. All clinical variables, peak expiratory flow (PEF) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV 1 ) were assessed at baseline, at 1, 3 and 6 h and at every 6 h thereafter until discharge from the ED. The patients were followed-up after 2 weeks of discharge. The response to treatment was assessed by clinical and spirometric evaluation. Independent t-tests and chi-square tests were used to compare the two treatment regimens. Results : The baseline characteristics were comparable in the two groups. There was a significant improvement in PEF and FEV 1 within the groups at 2 weeks of treatment when compared to the baseline. At 2 weeks of follow-up, Group B showed significant improvement over Group A in PEF (P < 0.0001), FEV 1 (P < 0.0001) and asthma score (P = 0.034). There was a significant increase in the blood sugar value at 2 weeks in both the groups. However, the increase was greater in Group A as compared to Group B (P < 0.0001). Conclusion : This study suggests that in acute asthma patients, IV MP followed by oral MP is a more efficacious and safer treatment regimen than IV HC followed by oral prednisolone.
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