Parent-Administered Prednisolone Treatments May Help Reduce Asthma Symptoms and Medical Care in Children
Researchers in Australia wanted to examine the benefits of a parent-initiated treatment for acute asthma attacks with
About the Study
During the trial time, there were 308 asthma attacks. Compared to those who received placebo, children who were given prednisolone by their parent had:
- 15% lower daytime asthma symptom scores
- 16% reduction in night time asthma symptom scores
- Reduced use of health resources
- Fewer missed school days
How Does This Affect You?
Randomized trials are considered one of the most reliable types of studies. This study supports the idea that well informed parents may be able to make the decision about when to give their children an oral corticosteroid. However, there are still some questions before this becomes standard practice. High amounts of corticosteroids like prednisolone do have side effects in children, including decreased bone strength and growth. This study did not focus on any of these adverse health effects. For that reason, some may be hesitant to allow non-medical professionals to determine when a corticosteroid should be used. On the other hand, these corticosteroids are most effective when delivered early in an asthma attack. The ability to deliver the medicine at home can help prevent a delay in treatment. As with any chronic disease, it is also financially and practically more reasonable to decrease the need for medical reliance.
The first step for good asthma management is to prevent asthma attacks. Work with your doctor to develop an asthma management plan and continue to discuss what is working and what may need to be changed. Keep your child active in this plan. Learn about triggers like allergens (pet dander, chemicals, pollen, dust), get appropriate vaccinations, and follow an asthma care plan that includes long-term and fast-acting asthma medicine. Not all asthma attacks can be prevented, so make sure you have a plan for an attack. Keep rescue medicine nearby, and seek medical help if symptoms are not relieved by rescue medicines.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Vuillermin PJ, Robertson CF, Carlin JB, et al. Parent initiated prednisolone for acute asthma in children of school age: randomised controlled crossover trial. BMJ. 2010 Mar 1;340:c843.
Last reviewed 4/28/2010 by
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