BACKGROUND Previous studies suggest that recurrent episodes of coughing and wheezing occur in up to 75% of infants after acute viral bronchiolitis.
AIM To assess the efficacy of budesonide given by means of a metered dose inhaler, spacer, and face mask in reducing the incidence of coughing and wheezing episodes up to 12 months after acute viral bronchiolitis.
METHODS Children under the age of 12 months admitted to hospital with acute viral bronchiolitis were randomised to receive either budesonide or placebo (200 μg or one puff twice daily) for the next eight weeks. Parents kept a diary card record of all episodes of coughing and wheezing over the next 12 months.
RESULTS Full follow up data were collected for 49 infants. There were no significant differences between the two study groups for the number of infants with symptom episodes up to six months after hospital discharge. At 12 months, 21 infants in the budesonide group had symptom episodes compared with 12 of 24 in the placebo group. The median number of symptom episodes was 2 (range, 0–13) in those who received budesonide and 1 (range, 0–11) in those who received placebo. Because there is no pharmacological explanation for these results, they are likely to be caused by a type 1 error, possibly exacerbated by there being more boys in the treatment group.
CONCLUSION Routine administration of budesonide by means of a metered dose inhaler, spacer, and face mask system immediately after acute viral bronchiolitis cannot be recommended.
- acute viral bronchiolitis
- inhaled corticosteroids
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