Objective There are only a few studies about nebulized magnesium sulfate in treatment of asthma attacks in children. This study aimed to determine the safety and efficacy of magnesium sulfate as a vehicle for nebulized salbutamol in asthma exacerbation.
Method In a double blinded trial, 40 asthmatic children (mean age = 3.55 years) were randomly enrolled into two study groups. Each group in the study were treated with nebulized salbutamol. As a vehicle, 2.5 ml of either saline or isotonic magnesium sulfate was mixed with salbutamol for comparison of their potential effects. Respiratory distress scores are measured before and one hour after the second course of the treatment. Mean days of hospital stay and mean hours of need for oxygen are determined.
Results The difference in improvement of mean scores of respiratory distress in the magnesium sulfate and saline groups was insignificant (2.8±1 vs. 2±1, p = 0.97). The mean duration of oxygen therapy in the magnesium sulfate and saline groups were 15.2±12.5 vs. 19±14.3 hours, respectively (p = 000). The mean days of hospitalization in the magnesium sulfate and saline groups were 19±0.9 vs. 2.1±8.6 days, respectively (p = 0.73). There were no side effects from the magnesium sulfate in the study group.
Conclusion Use of magnesium sulfate as a vehicle for nebulized salbutamol decreases the mean duration of oxygen therapy in patients with asthmatic attack. There was no difference in hospital stay and improvement of respiratory distress score in the study groups.
Acknowledgment The authors thank research committee of Urmia medical sciences for their financial supports.