Methylprednisolone therapy for acute asthma in infants and toddlers: A controlled clinical trial

A. Tal, N. Levy, J. E. Bearman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


A controlled double-blind trial was carried out to assess the effect of the early introduction of combined cotricosteroid and β-adrenergic drugs for the treatment of acute asthma in infants and toddlers. Seventy-four emergency room patients (aged 7 to 54 months) who were treated for acute asthma were studied. Treatment included, in addition to salbutamol inhalations, a single dose of intramuscular methylprednisolone (4 mg/kg) or normal saline as placebo. The patients were reevaluated 3 hours after initiation of treatment. At that time, patients were either admitted to discharged based on a clinical decision. Only 8 (20%) of 39 patients treated with steroids were admitted, compared with 15 (43%) of 35 in the placebo group (P < .05). Sequential analysis of 33 pairs matched by age and severity of symptoms, revealed statistically significant reduced admission rates in patients treated with steroids. In the younger patients (6 to 24 months), admission rate was significantly lower for those treated with steroids (18%) as compared with those treated without steroids (50%) (P < .05). In the older group (24 to 54 months), the trend was similar but not statistically significant: 23% vs 31% in the steroid and placebo groups, respectively. These data indicate that corticosteroid treatment combined with an adrenergic agent, given early during an acute asthmatic episode, significantly reduced the hospital admission rate of infants and toddlers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-356
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • asthma
  • corticosteroids
  • wheezy infants
  • β-adrenergic agents


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