The effect of treatment with topical inhaled corticosteroids was assessed in 15 children of low birth weight (mean (SD) birth weight 1435 (268) g, gestational age 30.5 (2.9) weeks, age at study 8.2 (0.4) years) who were symptomatic and showed a positive airway response to histamine aerosol. The study was of a double blind, placebo controlled, crossover design with four week long treatment periods with inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate (400 micrograms daily) or placebo. Daily symptom scores were recorded and physiological measurements were performed at the beginning and end of each treatment period. There was no significant difference in respiratory symptom score, baseline airway function, or the airway response to histamine between treatment periods. The findings argue against an inflammatory basis for airway hyper-responsiveness in these children and raise questions as to its pathophysiological basis.
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