Preventative asthma treatment may not be necessary

15 February 2011

The pre-emptive treatment of asthma may not be the most effective means of tackling the condition.

According to new research published in the Lancet, it is perfectly possible to manage the symptoms of asthma without resorting to a daily dose of corticosteroids.

The scientists behind the study, from the University of Arizona in the US, claimed that while the twice-daily dose of corticosteroids was the most effective means of controlling the condition itself, adherence to the treatment was variable and the side-effects of persistent drug use over the long term were put under the spotlight.

During the trial, which lasted for 44 weeks, those receiving the twice-daily treatment were found to grow less than children not taking the medication.

The researchers suggested using a "step-down strategy" for those with mild symptoms so they can avoid "related side-effects such as growth impairment".

Asthma UK claims that the lives of 5.4 million people are affected by the condition in some way.

1 Martinez, Fernando et al. "Use of beclomethasone dipropionate as rescue treatment for children with mild persistent asthma (TREXA): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial". The Lancet. Tuesday, February 15th 2011.

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