Research Article

Controlled trial of budesonide given by the nebuhaler in preschool children with asthma.

BMJ 1988; 297 doi: (Published 16 July 1988) Cite this as: BMJ 1988;297:163
  1. J. G. Gleeson,
  2. J. F. Price
  1. Department of Child Health, King's College School of Medicine, London.


    OBJECTIVE--To determine whether the inhaled corticosteroid budesonide, given by a Nebuhaler spacing device, was effective in prophylaxis of asthma in preschool children. DESIGN--Double blind, placebo controlled, random order crossover trial with two week practice run in period. SETTING--Outpatient clinic referrals in secondary referral centre. PATIENTS--39 children aged 2-6 years selected for the following: able to use Nebuhaler; parents able to complete record card; poorly controlled asthma (defined); not already on systemic or inhaled steroids. Eleven withdrew for various reasons not connected with intolerance to budesonide. Age, sex, other atopies, and symptoms during run in period were similar in the 28 children who completed the trial and in the 11 who withdrew. INTERVENTIONS--Budesonide 200 micrograms or placebo (both one puff) given twice daily during 6-week treatment or control periods, using Nebuhaler after prior training. Three week "washout" at crossover. Compliance monitored by weighing canisters. Patients withdrawn if their acute attacks required treatment with systemic steroids. END POINT--Control of asthma. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Peak expiratory flow rate measured twice daily where cooperation allowed. Diary of symptoms and concomitant drug use kept daily. Results showed mean peak flow significantly higher (12% in mornings, 14% in evenings) in second three weeks of intervention compared with control period (95% confidence intervals 6.3-17.3% and 7.2-21.0%). Supplementary bronchodilator drugs reduced by 50% during intervention periods. CONCLUSIONS--Budesonide given by Nebuhaler is effective prophylaxis for preschool children with frequent asthma.