Use of inhaled corticosteroid led to fewer hospitalizations for young children with asthma

03/21/05

Results from Retrospective Cohort Study of Managed Care Organization Database

San Antonio, Tex. – March 19, 2005 – A new study, presented at the 61st annual American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) showed that children who were prescribed a nebulized inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) as first-line treatment for asthma, experienced fewer emergency department (ED) visits or hospitalizations than children prescribed the medication as second or third-line treatment . Asthma is the most common chronic medical condition among children under the age of 15 and the third leading cause of hospitalization in this age group.4

In the study, 25 percent of children who received nebulized ICS as an initial therapy had to visit an ED or stay in the hospital at least once during one year of follow-up, compared to nearly 30 percent who had nebulized ICS as a secondary treatment, and 40 percent who took it as a third line treatment.

"Pediatric patients who were prescribed nebulized ICS earlier in treatment had a lower rate of exacerbations," said Kevin Murphy, MD, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and principal investigator in the study.

The study assessed whether early controller medications, such as the nebulized ICS Pulmicort Respules® (budesonide inhalation suspension), were associated with improved outcomes for children with asthma. The trial evaluated a total of 11,407 patients aged 12 months to four years who were diagnosed with asthma. Researchers evaluated exacerbation rates during a 12-month period following the first asthma medication prescription. In this study, exacerbation was defined as one or more ED visits or hospitalizations during the study period.

Parents who recognize the symptoms of asthma in their children – coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath – should inform their doctor or healthcare provider and obtain a proper diagnosis of the condition. Treatment options for childhood asthma can be broken down into two categories – controllers and quick-relief (bronchodilators). ICS, which are controller medication with anti-inflammatory properties, may help prevent asthma exacerbations and control asthma when taken regularly. Not all controllers are strictly anti-inflammatory.

About Pulmicort Respules?(budesonide inhalation suspension)
Pulmicort Respules uses a nebulizer to deliver the medication to children, making the delivery more consistent. It is the first and only inhaled nebulized corticosteroid approved for children with asthma 12 months to 4 years of age.

Pulmicort Respules is a preventive type medicine. Pulmicort Respules is not a quick-relief medicine (bronchodilator) and should NOT be used to treat an acute asthma attack.

In clinical studies, the side effects experienced with Pulmicort Respules and how often they happened were similar to what was experienced with a non-medicated mist (placebo). These side effects included respiratory infection, runny nose, coughing, earache, viral infection, stomachache, oral thrush and nosebleeds. If your child is exposed to chicken pox or measles, consult your child's health care professional. If your child is switching to Pulmicort Respules from an oral (syrup or pill) corticosteroid, carefully follow the health care professional's instructions. This will help your child avoid health risks that may be linked with stopping the use of oral corticosteroids.

For more information on the symptoms and triggers of asthma, as well as potential treatment options, parents can visit www.everydaykidz.com.

About Childhood Asthma
Asthma has become a serious problem in the United States, especially among children. In the year 2000, asthma resulted in 728,000 ED visits and 214,000 hospitalizations in patients under age 18, and ED and hospitalization rates were highest among children 4 years of age and younger, despite improvements in currently available asthma medications. Experts are unsure why this is the case, although one potential indicator is the lack of awareness and education about childhood asthma. Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15, and it is the most common chronic medical condition.4

Approximately 6.3 million children under 18 years of age have asthma, which makes it the leading serious chronic illness among children. Asthma is also the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15 and the number one cause of school absenteeism attributed to a chronic condition.4 Although asthma can be a life-threatening disease if not properly managed, the mild to moderate asthma that most children have can be controlled by treatment at home or in the doctor's office.4

Common symptoms of childhood asthma include coughing either constant or intermittent; wheezing or a whistling sound audible when your child exhales; shortness of breath or rapid breathing, which may or may not be associated with exercise; and chest tightness. Asthma triggers range from smoke, airborne molds, pollens, dust, animal dander, exercise, cold air, many household and industrial products, air pollutants, scents or simple stress.4

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of over $21.4 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, oncology and neuroscience products. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $9.6 billion healthcare business with more than 12,000 employees. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

For more information about AstraZeneca, please visit: www.astrazeneca-us.com

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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