Wheezing and asthma often begins in early childhood, but it is difficult to predict whether or not a wheezy infant will develop asthma. Some researchers suggest that treatment with inhaled corticosteroids at the first signs of wheezing in childhood could prevent the development of asthma later in life. However, other investigators have reported that although such treatment could help control symptoms, the benefits can disappear within months of stopping treatment. We tested our hypothesis that to prevent loss of lung function and worsening asthma later in childhood, anti-inflammatory treatment needs to be started early in life.
We did a randomised, double-blind, controlled study of inhaled fluticasone propionate 100 mug twice daily in young children who were followed prospectively and randomised after either one prolonged (>1 month) or two medically confirmed wheezy episodes. The dose of study drug was reduced every 3 months to the minimum needed. If the symptoms were not under control by 3 months, open-label fluticasone propionate 100 mug twice daily was added to the treatment. Children were followed-up to 5 years of age, at which point we gave their parents or guardians questionnaires, and measured the children's lung function (specific airways resistance [sR(aw)], forced expiratory volume in 1s [FEV1]) and airway reactivity (eucapnic voluntary hyperventilation [EVH] challenge). This study is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN86717853.
We followed 1073 children prospectively, of whom 333 were eligible, and 200 of these began treatment (130 male, median age 1.2 years [range 0.5-4.9]; 101 placebo, 99 treatment); 173 (85 treatment, 88 placebo) completed the follow-up at age five years. The groups did not differ significantly in the proportion of children with current wheeze, physician-diagnosed asthma or use of asthma medication, lung function, or airway reactivity (percentage change in FEV1, adjusted mean for placebo 5.5% [95% CI -2.5 to 13.4]) vs for treatment 5.0% [-2.2 to 12.2], p=0.87). There were no differences in the results after adjustment for open-label fluticasone propionate, nor between the two groups in the time before the open-label drug was added (estimated hazard ratio 1.12 [95% CI 0.73-1.73], p=0.60), or the proportion needing the open-label drug (43 [42.57%] placebo, 41 [41.41%] treatment).
The early use of inhaled fluticasone propionate for wheezing in preschool children had no effect on the natural history of asthma or wheeze later in childhood, and did not prevent lung function decline or reduce airway reactivity.
"There are a number of asthmatic patients in whom anti-inflammatory therapy does not lead to symptom control and who are considered treatment resistant. Furthermore whilst recognized to modify eosinophilic inflammation, inhaled corticosteroids treatment in atopic children with recurrent wheezing has shown to have no effect on declining in lung function and the natural history of asthma [3-5]. This irreversible airflow obstruction has been shown to develop despite appropriate use of inhaled corticosteroids, as advocated by international disease management guidelines . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Asthma is a chronic airway inflammatory disease with functional and structural changes, leading to bronchial hyperresponsiveness and airflow obstruction. Airway structural changes or airway remodelling consist of epithelial injury, goblet cell hyperplasia, subepithelial layer thickening, airway smooth muscle hyperplasia and angiogenesis. These changes were previously considered as a consequence of chronic airway inflammation. Even though inhaled corticosteroids can suppress airway inflammation, the natural history of asthma is still unaltered after inhaled corticosteroid treatment. As such there is increasing evidence for the role of mechanical forces within the asthmatic airway contributing to airway structural changes.
"Currently, allergies are in most cases treated by short-term symptom relieving or long-term anti-inflammatory drugs
[31-33]. The introduction of the latter, of which corticosteroids are the most prominent, has reduced some of the more serious outcomes of these diseases
. However, important drawbacks in regard to pharmacotherapy have also become evident: firstly, the effectiveness of current medications in controlling allergy symptoms is suboptimal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Allergy today is a public health concern of pandemic proportions, affecting more than 150 million people in Europe alone. In view of epidemiological trends, the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) predicts that within the next few decades, more than half of the European population may at some point in their lives experience some type of allergy.
Not only do allergic patients suffer from a debilitating disease, with the potential for major impact on their quality of life, career progression, personal development and lifestyle choices, but they also constitute a significant burden on health economics and macroeconomics due to the days of lost productivity and underperformance. Given that allergy triggers, including urbanization, industrialization, pollution and climate change, are not expected to change in the foreseeable future, it is imperative that steps are taken to develop, strengthen and optimize preventive and treatment strategies.
Allergen specific immunotherapy is the only currently available medical intervention that has the potential to affect the natural course of the disease. Years of basic science research, clinical trials, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses have convincingly shown that allergen specific immunotherapy can achieve substantial results for patients, improving the allergic individuals’ quality of life, reducing the long-term costs and burden of allergies, and changing the course of the disease. Allergen specific immunotherapy not only effectively alleviates allergy symptoms, but it has a long-term effect after conclusion of the treatment and can prevent the progression of allergic diseases.
Unfortunately, allergen specific immunotherapy has not yet received adequate attention from European institutions, including research funding bodies, even though this could be a most rewarding field in terms of return on investments, translational value and European integration and, a field in which Europe is recognized as a worldwide leader. Evaluation and surveillance of the full cost of allergic diseases is still lacking and further progress is being stifled by the variety of health systems across Europe. This means that the general population remains unaware of the potential use of allergen specific immunotherapy and its potential benefits.
We call upon Europe’s policy-makers to coordinate actions and improve individual and public health in allergy by:
Promoting awareness of the effectiveness of allergen specific immunotherapy
Updating national healthcare policies to support allergen specific immunotherapy
Prioritising funding for allergen specific immunotherapy research
Monitoring the macroeconomic and health economic parameters of allergy
Reinforcing allergy teaching in medical disciplines and specialties
The effective implementation of the above policies has the potential for a major positive impact on European health and well-being in the next decade.
"Studies of the efficacy of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in preschool children have given conflicting results. Some studies show that ICS are effective in improving symptoms and lung function
[3-8], although safety data are worrisome
, while others find no effect at all on the prevention of progression to established asthma
[10-12]. The most plausible explanation for these differences is that there is no single wheezing phenotype in young children, since the disease may be provoked by respiratory viruses, allergens, exercise and exposure to smoke or other pollutants
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Asthma is the most common chronic disease in young children. About 40% of all preschool children regularly wheeze during common cold infections. The heterogeneity of wheezing phenotypes early in life and various anatomical and emotional factors unique to young children present significant challenges in the clinical management of this problem. Antiinflammatory therapy, mainly consisting of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), is the cornerstone of asthma management. Since Leukotrienes (LTs) are chemical mediators of airway inflammation in asthma, the leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs) are traditionally used as potent anti-inflammatory drugs in the long-term treatment of asthma in adults, adolescents, and school-age children. In particular, montelukast decreases airway inflammation, and has also a bronchoprotective effect. The main guidelines on asthma management have confirmed the clinical utility of LTRAs in children older than five years. In the present review we describe the most recent advances on the use of LTRAs in the treatment of preschool wheezing disorders. LTRAs are effective in young children with virus-induced wheeze and with multiple-trigger disease. Conflicting data do not allow to reach definitive conclusions on LTRAs efficacy in bronchiolitis or post-bronchiolitis wheeze, and in acute asthma. The excellent safety profile of montelukast and the possibility of oral administration, that entails better compliance from young children, represent the main strengths of its use in preschool children. Montelukast is a valid alternative to ICS especially in poorly compliant preschool children, or in subjects who show adverse effects related to long-term steroid therapy.
Italian Journal of Pediatrics 06/2012; 38(1):29. DOI:10.1186/1824-7288-38-29 · 1.52 Impact Factor
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