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1.  Effect of Vitamin D and Inhaled Corticosteroid Treatment on Lung Function in Children 
Rationale: Low vitamin D levels are associated with asthma and decreased airway responsiveness. Treatment with inhaled corticosteroids improves airway responsiveness and asthma control.
Objectives: To assess the effect of vitamin D levels on prebronchodilator FEV1, bronchodilator response, and responsiveness to methacholine (PC20, provocative concentration of methacholine producing a 20% decline in FEV1) in patients with asthma treated with inhaled corticosteroids.
Methods: We measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in the serum of children with persistent asthma at the time of enrollment in the Childhood Asthma Management Program. We divided subjects into the vitamin D sufficiency (>30 ng/ml), insufficiency (20–30 ng/ml), and deficiency (<20 ng/ml) groups. Covariates included age, treatment, sex, body mass index, race, history of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and season that vitamin D specimen was drawn. Our main outcome measures were change in prebronchodilator FEV1, bronchodilator response, and PC20 from enrollment to 8–12 months.
Measurements and Main Results: Of the 1,024 subjects, 663 (65%) were vitamin D sufficient, 260 (25%) were insufficient, and 101 (10%) were deficient. Vitamin D–deficient subjects were more likely to be older, African American, and have a higher body mass index compared with the vitamin D–sufficient and insufficient subjects. In the inhaled corticosteroid treatment group, prebronchodilator FEV1 increased from randomization to 12 months by 140 ml in the vitamin D–deficient group and prebronchodilator FEV1 increased by 330 ml in the vitamin D insufficiency group and by 290 ml in the vitamin D sufficiency group (P = 0.0072), in adjusted models.
Conclusions: In children with asthma treated with inhaled corticosteroids, vitamin D deficiency is associated with poorer lung function than in children with vitamin D insufficiency or sufficiency.
PMCID: PMC3480528  PMID: 22798322
asthma; vitamin D; lung function; forced expiratory volume; children
2.  Association of Adenotonsillectomy with Asthma Outcomes in Children: A Longitudinal Database Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(11):e1001753.
Rakesh Bhattacharjee and colleagues use data from a US private health insurance database to compare asthma severity measures in children one year before and one year after they underwent adenotonsillectomy with asthma measures in those who did not undergo adenotonsillectomy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Childhood asthma and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), both disorders of airway inflammation, were associated in recent observational studies. Although childhood OSA is effectively treated by adenotonsillectomy (AT), it remains unclear whether AT also improves childhood asthma. We hypothesized that AT, the first line of therapy for childhood OSA, would be associated with improved asthma outcomes and would reduce the usage of asthma therapies in children.
Methods and Findings
Using the 2003–2010 MarketScan database, we identified 13,506 children with asthma in the United States who underwent AT. Asthma outcomes during 1 y preceding AT were compared to those during 1 y following AT. In addition, 27,012 age-, sex-, and geographically matched children with asthma without AT were included to examine asthma outcomes among children without known adenotonsillar tissue morbidity. Primary outcomes included the occurrence of a diagnostic code for acute asthma exacerbation (AAE) or acute status asthmaticus (ASA). Secondary outcomes included temporal changes in asthma medication prescriptions, the frequency of asthma-related emergency room visits (ARERs), and asthma-related hospitalizations (ARHs). Comparing the year following AT to the year prior, AT was associated with significant reductions in AAE (30.2%; 95% CI: 25.6%–34.3%; p<0.0001), ASA (37.9%; 95% CI: 29.2%–45.6%; p<0.0001), ARERs (25.6%; 95% CI: 16.9%–33.3%; p<0.0001), and ARHs (35.8%; 95% CI: 19.6%–48.7%; p = 0.02). Moreover, AT was associated with significant reductions in most asthma prescription refills, including bronchodilators (16.7%; 95% CI: 16.1%–17.3%; p<0.001), inhaled corticosteroids (21.5%; 95% CI: 20.7%–22.3%; p<0.001), leukotriene receptor antagonists (13.4%; 95% CI: 12.9%–14.0%; p<0.001), and systemic corticosteroids (23.7%; 95% CI: 20.9%–26.5%; p<0.001). In contrast, there were no significant reductions in these outcomes in children with asthma who did not undergo AT over an overlapping follow-up period. Limitations of the MarketScan database include lack of information on race and obesity status. Also, the MarketScan database does not include information on children with public health insurance (i.e., Medicaid) or uninsured children.
In a very large sample of privately insured children, AT was associated with significant improvements in several asthma outcomes. Contingent on validation through prospectively designed clinical trials, this study supports the premise that detection and treatment of adenotonsillar tissue morbidity may serve as an important strategy for improving asthma control.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The global burden of asthma has been rising steadily over the past few decades. Nowadays, about 200–300 million adults and children worldwide are affected by asthma, a chronic condition caused by inflammation of the airways (the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs). Although asthma can develop at any age, it is often diagnosed in childhood—asthma is one of the commonest chronic diseases in children. In the US, for example, asthma affects around 7.1 million children under the age of 18 years and is the third leading cause of hospitalization of children under the age of 15 years. In people with asthma, the airways can react very strongly to allergens such as animal fur or to irritants such as cigarette smoke. Exercise, cold air, and infections can trigger asthma attacks, which can be fatal. The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma cannot be cured, but drugs can relieve its symptoms and prevent acute asthma attacks.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recent studies have found an association between severe childhood asthma and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In OSA, airway inflammation promotes hypertrophy (excess growth) of the adenoids and the tonsils, immune system tissues in the upper airway. During sleep, the presence of hypertrophic adenotonsillar tissues predisposes the walls of the throat to collapse, which results in apnea—a brief interruption in breathing. People with OSA often snore loudly and frequently wake from deep sleep as they struggle to breathe. Childhood OSA, which affects 2%–3% of children, can be effectively treated by removal of the adenoids and tonsils (adenotonsillectomy). Given the association between childhood OSA and severe asthma and given the involvement of airway inflammation in both conditions, might adenotonsillectomy also improve childhood asthma? Here, the researchers analyze data from the MarketScan database, a large database of US patients with private health insurance, to investigate whether adenotonsillectomy is associated with improvements in asthma outcomes and with reductions in the use of asthma therapies in children.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used the database to identify 13,506 children with asthma who had undergone adenotonsillectomy and to obtain information about asthma outcomes among these children for the year before and the year after the operation. Because asthma severity tends to decrease with age, the researchers also used the database to identify 27,012 age-, sex-, and geographically matched children with asthma who did not have the operation so that they could examine asthma outcomes over an equivalent two-year period in the absence of complications related to adenotonsillar hypertrophy. Comparing the year after adenotonsillectomy with the year before the operation, adenotonsillectomy was associated with a 30% reduction in acute asthma exacerbations, a 37.9% reduction in acute status asthmaticus (an asthma attack that is unresponsive to the drugs usually used to treat attacks), a 25.6% reduction in asthma-related emergency room visits, and a 35.8% reduction in asthma-related hospitalizations. By contrast, among the control children, there was only a 2% reduction in acute asthma exacerbations and only a 7% reduction in acute status asthmaticus over an equivalent two-year period. Adenotonsillectomy was also associated with significant reductions (changes unlikely to have occurred by chance) in prescription refills for most types of drugs used to treat asthma, whereas there were no significant reductions in prescription refills among children with asthma who had not undergone adenotonsillectomy. The study was limited by the lack of measures of race and obesity, which are both associated with severity of asthma.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in a large sample of privately insured children in the US, adenotonsillectomy was associated with significant improvements in several asthma outcomes. These results do not show, however, that adenotonsillectomy caused a reduction in the severity of childhood asthma. It could be that the children who underwent adenotonsillectomy (but not those who did not have the operation) shared another unknown factor that led to improvements in their asthma over time. To prove a causal link, it will be necessary to undertake a randomized controlled trial in which the outcomes of groups of children with asthma who are chosen at random to undergo or not undergo adenotonsillectomy are compared. However, with the proviso that there are some risks associated with adenotonsillectomy, these findings suggest that the detection and treatment of adenotonsillar hypertrophy may help to improve asthma control in children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on asthma, including videos, games, and links to other resources for children with asthma
The American Lung Association provides detailed information about asthma and a fact sheet on asthma in children; it also has information about obstructive sleep apnea
The National Sleep Foundation provides information on snoring and obstructive sleep apnea in children
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information (including some personal stories) about asthma, about asthma in children, and about obstructive sleep apnea
The “Global Asthma Report 2014” will be available in October 2014
MedlinePlus provides links to further information on asthma, on asthma in children, on sleep apnea, and on tonsils and adenoids (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC4219664  PMID: 25369282
3.  The Effect of Vitamin D Status on Pediatric Asthma at a University Hospital, Thailand 
In the USA and Europe, hypovitaminosis D is associated with increased asthma severity, emergency department (ED) visit, and impaired pulmonary function in asthmatic patients. However, in tropical countries, data on the effect of vitamin D status on asthma is limited. This study evaluates the relationship between vitamin D status and the level of asthma control as well as other asthmatic parameters.
Asthmatic children were evaluated for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, pulmonary function tests, a skin prick test, and the level of asthma control.
A total of 125 asthmatic children were recruited (boys, 66.4%). Their mean age±SD was 10.8±3.0 years. Vitamin D statuses were: deficiency (<20 ng/mL) in 19.2% of the patients, insufficiency (20-30 ng/mL) in 44.8%, and sufficiency (>30 ng/mL) in 36%. The vitamin D levels were 25.9±9.4 ng/mL in uncontrolled patients, 29.2±8.6 ng/mL in partly controlled patients, and 27.9±8.0 ng/mL in controlled patients (P>0.05). There were no significant differences in pulmonary function, asthma exacerbation, inhaled-corticosteroid (ICS) dose, anti-inflammatory drugs, or ED visit or hospitalization between different vitamin D statuses. Vitamin D deficiency patients were older and had a delayed onset of asthma than insufficiency or sufficiency patients. There was no significant correlation between serum vitamin D and pulmonary function/doses of ICS.
High prevalences of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were found in asthmatic children in Thailand; however, there was no significant relationship between vitamin D status and the level of asthma control or other asthma parameters.
PMCID: PMC3756175  PMID: 24003385
Asthma; children; corticosteroid; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; vitamin D
4.  Corticosteroid use and bone mineral accretion in children with asthma: effect modification by vitamin D 
The adverse effects of corticosteroids on bone mineral accretion (BMA) have been well documented. Vitamin D insufficiency, a prevalent condition in the pediatric population, has also been associated with decreased bone mineral density (BMD).
To determine whether children with asthma who have lower vitamin D levels are more susceptible to the negative effects of corticosteroids on BMD over time.
Children aged 5–12 years with mild-to-moderate asthma who participated in the Childhood Asthma Management Program were followed for a mean of 4.3 years. Total doses of inhaled and oral corticosteroids (OCS) were recorded, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels were measured at the beginning of the trial and serial DEXA scans of the lumbar spine were performed. Annual BMA rates were defined as: [(BMD at 4 years follow-up − BMD at baseline)/4 years].
BMA was calculated for 780 subjects. In boys, baseline vitamin D levels significantly modified the relationship between OCS and BMA (vitamin D x OCS interaction, p=0.023). Stratification by vitamin D levels showed a decrease in BMA with increased use of OCS in vitamin D insufficient boys only (p<0.001). Compared to vitamin D sufficient boys, vitamin D insufficient boys exposed to more than 2 courses of oral corticosteroids per year had twice the decrease in BMA rate (relative to boys who were OCS-unexposed).
Vitamin D levels significantly modified the effect of oral corticosteroids on bone mineral accretion in boys. Further research is needed to examine whether vitamin D supplementation in children with poorly controlled asthma may confer benefits to bone health.
PMCID: PMC3387323  PMID: 22608570
Asthma; vitamin D; bone mineral density; corticosteroids
5.  Vitamin D Insufficiency and Asthma Severity in Adults From Costa Rica 
Non-classical actions of vitamin D as a cytokine are related to the immunopathology of asthma. Few studies have examined vitamin D levels and asthma severity in adults. The aim of this research was to assess the relationship between vitamin D levels, atopy markers, pulmonary function, and asthma severity.
We analyzed 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in serum collected from 121 asthmatic adults from Costa Rica to investigate the association between vitamin D levels (categorized as sufficient, ≥30 ng/mL, or insufficient, <30 ng/mL), allergic rhinitis, total IgE and peripheral blood eosinophils (as markers of atopy), asthma severity, baseline forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and forced vital capacity (FVC). Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess these relationships.
When the population was stratified by vitamin D status, 91% of asthmatic patients with vitamin D levels below 20 ng/mL (n=36) and 74% of patients with vitamin D levels between 20 and 30 ng/mL (n=73) had severe asthma versus 50% of those with vitamin D sufficiency (n=12; P=0.02). Vitamin D insufficiency was associated with a higher risk of severe asthma (odds ratio [OR], 5.04; 95% Confidence interval [CI], 1.23-20.72; P=0.02). High vitamin D levels were associated with a lower risk of hospitalization or emergency department visit during the last year (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.84-0.98; P=0.04). Although there appeared to be a direct relationship between vitamin D levels and FEV1 (regression coefficient=0.48; r2=0.03), it did not reach statistical significance (P=0.07).
Our findings suggest that vitamin D insufficiency is common among our cohort of asthmatic adults. Lower vitamin D levels are associated with asthma severity.
PMCID: PMC3756174  PMID: 24003384
Adult; asthma; vitamin D
6.  DO IT Trial: vitamin D Outcomes and Interventions in Toddlers – a TARGet Kids! randomized controlled trial 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:37.
Vitamin D levels are alarmingly low (<75 nmol/L) in 65-70% of North American children older than 1 year. An increased risk of viral upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), asthma-related hospitalizations and use of anti-inflammatory medication have all been linked with low vitamin D. No study has determined whether wintertime vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of URTI and asthma exacerbations, two of the most common and costly illnesses of early childhood. The objectives of this study are: 1) to compare the effect of ‘high dose’ (2000 IU/day) vs. ‘standard dose’ (400 IU/day) vitamin D supplementation in achieving reductions in laboratory confirmed URTI and asthma exacerbations during the winter in preschool-aged Canadian children; and 2) to assess the effect of ‘high dose’ vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D serum levels and specific viruses that cause URTI.
This study is a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. Over 4 successive winters we will recruit 750 healthy children 1–5 years of age. Participating physicians are part of a primary healthcare research network called TARGet Kids!. Children will be randomized to the ‘standard dose’ or ‘high dose’ oral supplemental vitamin D for a minimum of 4 months (200 children per group). Parents will obtain a nasal swab from their child with each URTI, report the number of asthma exacerbations and complete symptom checklists. Unscheduled physician visits for URTIs and asthma exacerbations will be recorded. By May, a blood sample will be drawn to determine vitamin D serum levels. The primary analysis will be a comparison of URTI rate between study groups using a Poisson regression model. Secondary analyses will compare vitamin D serum levels, asthma exacerbations and the frequency of specific viral agents between groups.
Identifying whether vitamin D supplementation of preschoolers can reduce wintertime viral URTIs and asthma exacerbations and what dose is optimal may reduce population wide morbidity and associated health care and societal costs. This information will assist in determining practice and health policy recommendations related to vitamin D supplementation in healthy Canadian preschoolers.
PMCID: PMC3942179  PMID: 24506910
Vitamin D deficiency; Vitamin D supplementation; Infant; Toddler
7.  Serum Vitamin D Levels and Markers of Severity of Childhood Asthma in Costa Rica 
Rationale: Maternal vitamin D intake during pregnancy has been inversely associated with asthma symptoms in early childhood. However, no study has examined the relationship between measured vitamin D levels and markers of asthma severity in childhood.
Objectives: To determine the relationship between measured vitamin D levels and both markers of asthma severity and allergy in childhood.
Methods: We examined the relation between 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (the major circulating form of vitamin D) and markers of allergy and asthma severity in a cross-sectional study of 616 Costa Rican children between the ages of 6 and 14 years. Linear, logistic, and negative binomial regressions were used for the univariate and multivariate analyses.
Measurements and Main Results: Of the 616 children with asthma, 175 (28%) had insufficient levels of vitamin D (<30 ng/ml). In multivariate linear regression models, vitamin D levels were significantly and inversely associated with total IgE and eosinophil count. In multivariate logistic regression models, a log10 unit increase in vitamin D levels was associated with reduced odds of any hospitalization in the previous year (odds ratio [OR], 0.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.004–0.71; P = 0.03), any use of antiinflammatory medications in the previous year (OR, 0.18; 95% CI, 0.05–0.67; P = 0.01), and increased airway responsiveness (a ≤8.58-μmol provocative dose of methacholine producing a 20% fall in baseline FEV1 [OR, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.024–0.97; P = 0.05]).
Conclusions: Our results suggest that vitamin D insufficiency is relatively frequent in an equatorial population of children with asthma. In these children, lower vitamin D levels are associated with increased markers of allergy and asthma severity.
PMCID: PMC2675563  PMID: 19179486
8.  Effect of Vitamin D3 on Asthma Treatment Failures in Adults With Symptomatic Asthma and Lower Vitamin D Levels 
JAMA  2014;311(20):2083-2091.
In asthma and other diseases, vitamin D insufficiency is associated with adverse outcomes. It is not known if supplementing inhaled corticosteroids with oral vitamin D3 improves outcomes in patients with asthma and vitamin D insufficiency.
To evaluate if vitamin D supplementation would improve the clinical efficacy of inhaled corticosteroids in patients with symptomatic asthma and lower vitamin D levels.
The VIDA (Vitamin D Add-on Therapy Enhances Corticosteroid Responsiveness in Asthma) randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled trial studying adult patients with symptomatic asthma and a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of less than 30 ng/mL was conducted across 9 academic US medical centers in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s AsthmaNet network, with enrollment starting in April 2011 and follow-up complete by January 2014. After a run-in period that included treatment with an inhaled corticosteroid, 408 patients were randomized.
Oral vitamin D3 (100 000 IU once, then 4000 IU/d for 28 weeks; n = 201) or placebo (n = 207) was added to inhaled ciclesonide (320 µg/d). If asthma control was achieved after 12 weeks, ciclesonide was tapered to 160 µg/d for 8 weeks, then to 80 µg/d for 8 weeks if asthma control was maintained.
The primary outcome was time to first asthma treatment failure (a composite outcome of decline in lung function and increases in use of β-agonists, systemic corticosteroids, and health care).
Treatment with vitamin D3 did not alter the rate of first treatment failure during 28 weeks (28%[95% CI, 21%-34%] with vitamin D3 vs 29% [95% CI, 23%–35%] with placebo; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.9 [95% CI, 0.6–1.3]). Of 14 prespecified secondary outcomes, 9 were analyzed, including asthma exacerbation; of those 9, the only statistically significant outcome was a small difference in the overall dose of ciclesonide required to maintain asthma control (111.3 µg/d [95% CI, 102.2–120.4 µg/d] in the vitamin D3 group vs 126.2 µg/d [95% CI, 117.2–135.3 µg/d] in the placebo group; difference of 14.9 µg/d [95% CI, 2.1–27.7 µg/d]).
Vitamin D3 did not reduce the rate of first treatment failure or exacerbation in adults with persistent asthma and vitamin D insufficiency. These findings do not support a strategy of therapeutic vitamin D3 supplementation in patients with symptomatic asthma.
TRIAL REGISTRATION Identifier: NCT01248065
PMCID: PMC4217655  PMID: 24838406
9.  Early use of inhaled nedocromil sodium in children following an acute episode of asthma 
Thorax  1999;54(4):308-315.
BACKGROUND—Current guidelines on the treatment of childhood asthma recommend the introduction of an anti-inflammatory drug in children who have persistent symptoms and require regular treatment with a bronchodilator. The efficacy and safety of inhaled nedocromil sodium (Tilade Mint aerosol) administered using a Fisonair spacer at a dose of 4 mg three times daily was compared with placebo in the treatment of asthmatic children aged 6-12 years who are symptomatic and recovering from an acute exacerbation of asthma.
METHODS—A group comparative, double blind, placebo controlled trial was performed in children who were recovering from an acute episode of asthma following treatment in the emergency department of the hospital or in children referred from their general practitioner following a wheezing episode and documented evidence of at least two previous episodes of wheezing. A two week baseline period on existing bronchodilator treatment was followed by a 12 week treatment period on either nedocromil sodium (2 mg/puff) or placebo. Both treatments were administered using a Fisonair spacer at a dose of two puffs three times daily. Changes from baseline values in daytime asthma and night time asthma symptom scores, usage of rescue bronchodilators, mean peak expiratory flow (PEF) recorded twice daily on diary cards, patients' opinion of treatment, and withdrawals due to treatment failure were measured during the primary treatment period (last six weeks of treatment).
RESULTS—One hundred and forty two children aged 6-12 years entered the baseline period. Sixty three were withdrawn due to failure to meet the entry criteria (18) or the criteria for asthma symptom severity (15) or reversibility (9), because they developed uncontrolled asthma (2), because they took disallowed treatment (2), or for other non-trial related reasons (17). Seventy nine patients (46boys) of mean age 8.8 years entered the treatment period. There were significant differences in the changes from baseline values during the last six weeks of treatment in favour of nedocromil sodium compared with placebo in the primary variables of daytime asthma and night time asthma, morning and evening PEF, and the usage of rescue inhaled bronchodilators; 53% of patients reported nedocromil sodium to be very or moderately effective compared with 44% placebo. Improvement in asthma symptoms, PEF, and reduction in use of rescue bronchodilators did not reach statistical significance until after six weeks of treatment. Twenty two patients were withdrawn or dropped out during the treatment phase, 12 due to uncontrolled asthma or persistence of asthma symptoms, four due to suspected adverse drug reactions (nedocromil sodium 3 (headaches 2, angio-oedema/urticaria 1), placebo 1(persistent cough)), and six due to non-treatment related reasons. Seventy one adverse events were reported by 27patients in the nedocromil group and 75 by 30 patients in the placebo group.
CONCLUSIONS—Asthma symptoms, use of bronchodilators, and lung function can be improved significantly in children recovering from an acute exacerbation of asthma or wheeze and currently receiving treatment with bronchodilators alone by the addition of inhaled nedocromil sodium at a dose of 4 mg three times daily administered using a Fisonair holding chamber.

PMCID: PMC1745469  PMID: 10092691
10.  The Relationship Between Serum 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D Levels and Asthma in Children 
Asthma and other allergic disorders have increased over the past decades in nearly all nations. Many studies have suggested the role of vitamin D deficiency in both T-helper1 and T-helper2 diseases; however, the association between vitamin D, allergy, and asthma remains uncertain. In this study, the associations of 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 levels with asthma and with the severity of asthma were evaluated.
This cross-sectional study was conducted on 50 asthmatic children and 50 healthy controls aged 6-18 years. Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 levels were determined and compared between the two groups. The relationship between serum vitamin D levels and pulmonary function test outcomes and eosinophil counts were examined in asthmatic patients.
Univariate analysis of the relationship between asthma and vitamin D showed that decreased vitamin D levels were associated with significantly increased odds of asthmatic state (P=0.002). In a multivariate analysis after adjustment for age, body mass index, and sex, the relationship between vitamin D and asthma increased. In asthmatic patients, 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels had direct and significant correlations with both predicted FEV1 (R2=0.318; P=0.024) and FEV1/FVC (R2=0.315; P=0.026). There were no associations between vitamin D level and eosinophil counts, duration of disease, and the number of hospitalization or unscheduled visits in the previous year (P>0.05).
These results showed that serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels were inversely associated with asthma, and there was a direct and significant relationship between vitamin D levels and pulmonary function test outcomes in asthmatic children. An interventional study in asthmatic patients with low serum vitamin D concentration may establish a causal relationship between asthma and vitamin D.
PMCID: PMC3178823  PMID: 21966605
Asthma; vitamin D; allergy
11.  Genome-wide association study reveals class I MHC–restricted T cell–associated molecule gene (CRTAM) variants interact with vitamin D levels to affect asthma exacerbations 
It has recently been shown that vitamin D deficiency can increase asthma development and severity and that variations in vitamin D receptor genes are associated with asthma susceptibility.
We sought to find genetic factors that might interact with vitamin D levels to affect the risk of asthma exacerbation. Methods: We conducted a genome-wide study of gene–vitamin D interaction on asthma exacerbations using population-based and family-based approaches on 403 subjects and trios from the Childhood Asthma Management Program. Twenty-three polymorphisms with significant interactions were studied in a replication analysis in 584 children from a Costa Rican cohort. Results: We identified 3 common variants in the class I MHC–restricted T cell–associated molecule gene (CRTAM) that were associated with an increased rate of asthma exacerbations based on the presence of a low circulating vitamin D level. These results were replicated in a second independent population (unadjusted combined interaction, P =.00028–.00097; combined odds ratio, 3.28–5.38). One variant, rs2272094, is a nonsynonymous coding polymorphism of CRTAM. Functional studies on cell lines confirmed the interaction of vitamin D and rs2272094 on CRTAM expression. CRTAM is highly expressed in activated human CD8+ and natural killer T cells, both of which have been implicated in asthmatic patients.
The findings highlight an important gene-environment interaction that elucidates the role of vitamin D and CD8+ and natural killer T cells in asthma exacerbation in a genome-wide gene-environment interaction study that has been replicated in an independent population. The results suggest the potential importance of maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in subsets of high-risk asthmatic patients.
PMCID: PMC3360942  PMID: 22051697
Gene-environment interaction; genome-wide association study; vitamin D; asthma exacerbation
12.  Relationship between Serum Vitamin D, Disease Severity, and Airway Remodeling in Children with Asthma 
Little is known about vitamin D status and its effect on asthma pathophysiology in children with severe, therapy-resistant asthma (STRA).
Relationships between serum vitamin D, lung function, and pathology were investigated in pediatric STRA.
Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D3] was measured in 86 children (mean age, 11.7 yr): 36 with STRA, 26 with moderate asthma (MA), and 24 without asthma (control subjects). Relationships between 25(OH)D3, the asthma control test (ACT), spirometry, corticosteroid use, and exacerbations were assessed. Twenty-two of 36 children with STRA underwent fiberoptic bronchoscopy, bronchoalveolar lavage, and endobronchial biopsy with assessment of airway inflammation and remodeling.
Measurements and Main Results
25(OH)D3 levels (median [IQR]) were significantly lower in STRA (28 [22–38] nmol/L) than in MA (42.5 [29–63] nmol/L) and control subjects (56.5 [45–67] nmol/L) (P < 0.001). There was a positive relationship between 25(OH)D3 levels and percent predicted FEV1 (r = 0.4, P < 0.001) and FVC (r = 0.3, P = 0.002) in all subjects. 25(OH)D3 levels were positively associated with ACT (r = 0.6, P < 0.001), and inversely associated with exacerbations (r=−0.6, P < 0.001) and inhaled steroid dose (r=−0.39, P = 0.001) in MA and and STRA. Airway smooth muscle (ASM) mass, but not epithelial shedding or reticular basement membrane thickness, was inversely related to 25(OH)D3 levels (r=−0.6, P = 0.008). There was a positive correlation between ASM mass and bronchodilator reversibility (r = 0.6, P = 0.009) and an inverse correlation between ASM mass and ACT (r = −0.7, P < 0.001).
Lower vitamin D levels in children with STRA were associated with increased ASM mass and worse asthma control and lung function. The link between vitamin D, airway structure, and function suggests vitamin D supplementation may be useful in pediatric STRA.
PMCID: PMC3471128  PMID: 21908411
vitamin D; asthma; remodeling; airway smooth muscle; pediatrics
13.  Predictors of Remitting, Periodic, and Persistent Childhood Asthma 
The course of mild to moderate persistent asthma in children is not clearly established.
To determine the rate and predictors for remitting, periodic, and persistent asthma in adolescence.
The Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) was a 4.3-year randomized, double-masked, multicenter trial in children with mild to moderate persistent asthma that compared continuous therapy with either budesonide or nedocromil, each to placebo, followed by 4 years observational follow-up period. Asthma activity during the observation period included remitting (no asthma activity in the last year), persistent (asthma activity in every quarter), and periodic asthma (neither remitting nor persistent).
Asthma was identified as remitting in 6%, periodic in 39%, and persistent in 55% of the 909 participants, with no effect noted from earlier anti-inflammatory treatment during the CAMP trial. Within all three asthma activity categories, improvements in airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophilia, and asthma morbidity were observed over time. Features at entry into CAMP associated with remitting vs. persistent asthma were lack of allergen sensitization and exposure to indoor allergens [OR=3.23, p<0.001], milder asthma [OR=2.01, p=0.03], older age [OR=1.23, p=0.01], less airway hyperresponsiveness (higher log methacholine FEV1 PC20 [OR=1.39, p=0.03]), higher pre-bronchodilator FEV1 % predicted [OR=1.05, p=0.02], and lower FVC % predicted [OR=0.96, p=0.04].
Remission of asthma in adolescence is infrequent and not impacted by 4 years of anti-inflammatory controller therapy. Factors such as sensitization and exposure, low lung function, and airway greater hyperresponsiveness decrease the likelihood of remitting asthma.
PMCID: PMC2844768  PMID: 20159245
Remission; Natural history; Persistent asthma
14.  Vitamin D Insufficiency and Severe Asthma Exacerbations in Puerto Rican Children 
Rationale: Vitamin D insufficiency (a serum 25(OH)D <30 ng/ml) has been associated with severe asthma exacerbations, but this could be explained by underlying racial ancestry or disease severity. Little is known about vitamin D and asthma in Puerto Ricans.
Objectives: To examine whether vitamin D insufficiency is associated with severe asthma exacerbations in Puerto Rican children, independently of racial ancestry, atopy, and time outdoors.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted of 560 children ages 6–14 years with (n = 287) and without (n = 273) asthma in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We measured plasma vitamin D and estimated the percentage of African racial ancestry among participants using genome-wide genotypic data. We tested whether vitamin D insufficiency is associated with severe asthma exacerbations, lung function, or atopy (greater than or equal to one positive IgE to allergens) using logistic or linear regression. Multivariate models were adjusted for African ancestry, time outdoors, atopy, and other covariates.
Measurements and Main Results: Vitamin D insufficiency was common in children with (44%) and without (47%) asthma. In multivariate analyses, vitamin D insufficiency was associated with higher odds of greater than or equal to one severe asthma exacerbation in the prior year (odds ratio [OR], 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5–4.9; P = 0.001) and atopy, and a lower FEV1/FVC in cases. After stratification by atopy, the magnitude of the association between vitamin D insufficiency and severe exacerbations was greater in nonatopic (OR, 6.2; 95% CI, 2–21.6; P = 0.002) than in atopic (OR, 2; 95% CI, 1–4.1; P = 0.04) cases.
Conclusions: Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with severe asthma exacerbations in Puerto Rican children, independently of racial ancestry, atopy, or markers of disease severity or control.
PMCID: PMC3406083  PMID: 22652028
vitamin D; asthma exacerbations; Puerto Ricans; childhood
15.  Childhood asthma and vitamin D deficiency in Turkey: is there cause and effect relationship between them? 
Epidemiological studies show that vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are common worldwide and associated with many diseases including asthma. Our aim was to evaluate vitamin D insufficiency and its clinical consequences.
This cross-sectional study was carried out on 170 children consisted of 85 who were asthmatic and 85 who were not, aged 2 to 14 years in Tekirdag, Turkey, from September 2009 to May 2010. Children’s basal serum D vitamin levels were determined, and their eating habits, vitamin D intake, exposure to sunlight and use of health services during the previous year were investigated. The severity of asthma and levels of asthma control were assessed according to the Global Initiative for Asthma guidelines.
The difference between mean vitamin D levels in the asthmatic group (mean +/- SD) 16.6 +/- 8.5 ng/mL and the healthy control group (mean +/- SD) 28.2 +/- 19.5 ng/mL was found to be statistically significant (p < 0.001). Children in the asthma group had less exposure to sunlight and ate a diet less rich in vitamin D (p < 0.001). A significant difference was observed between the groups regarding the frequency of respiratory tract infections leading to emergency unit admissions and number of hospitalizations (p < 0.001). It was also shown that a decrease in vitamin D level increased the severity of asthma (p < 0.001) and decreased the frequency of controlled asthma (p = 0.010).
This study has demonstrated the correlation between plasma 25 (OH) D levels and childhood asthma. Evidently, this relationship being influenced by multiple factors other than vitamin D, further studies should be conducted to explore the interrelation between all such factors.
PMCID: PMC3892001  PMID: 24330502
16.  276 A 4-Year Follow-up in Children With Moderate/Severe Asthma after Withdrawal 1 Year Omalizumab Treatment 
Asthma guidelines include omalizumab in the step up management in those patients with severe non-controlled asthma despite the use of the inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) at the highest dose recommended and/or oral corticosteroids (OCS) courses. This communication describes the 4 year follow up of children with moderate/severe allergic asthma treated for 1 year with add-on omalizumab after discontinuation.
7 children (6 to <12 years) with moderate/severe uncontrolled asthma following strict inclusion/exclusion criteria. The patients completed a 1 year treatment with omalizumab according to the DBPC CIGE025 clinical study protocol. Four years follow up after discontinuation of the study medication was performed. It included clinical assessment, different asthma-related outcomes and lung function in outpatient hospital office
All patients that received xolair during the study period achieved good asthma control and high dose ICS (mean dose fluticasone 500 mcg) were could be discontinued. Surprisingly, the 7 patients that received Xolair for one year were completely free of asthma symptoms during the first 3 years of follow up. They did not use any additional asthma medication. After the third year of follow up, only 2 out of 7 (28%) patients begun with persistent asthma symptoms and exacerbations. These patients have required rescue medication and then regular controller medication (budesonide 400 mcg). We could not identified any risk factor helping in predicting those who had symptoms relapsing. Lung function, number of exacerbation, number of hospitalization, eosinophilia, IgE levels or previous treatments with OCS
Most of these patients 5 out of 7 still remain asymptomatic 4 years after discontinuation Xolair without regular ICS treatment. They are still not using any controller medication only 2 patients had exacerbations and at present show persistent mild asthma controlled with medium ICS therapy. This follow up would generate the hypothesis that omalizumab could have a potential as a modifier of the natural history of asthma beyond the improvement of symptoms control in children with moderate/severe uncontrolled asthma. Further studies are needed to test this hypothesis.
PMCID: PMC3512580
17.  Long-Term Budesonide or Nedocromil Treatment, Once Discontinued, Does Not Alter the Course of Mild to Moderate Asthma in Children and Adolescents 
The Journal of pediatrics  2009;154(5):682-687.
To determine whether long-term, continuous use of inhaled anti-inflammatory medications affects asthma outcomes in children with mild-moderate asthma after use is discontinued.
Study design
Of 1,041 participants in the Childhood Asthma Management Program randomized clinical trial, 941 (90%) were followed to determine whether 4.3 years of twice daily budesonide or nedocromil (each compared with placebo) affected subsequent asthma outcomes during a 4.8 year post-trial period in which treatment was managed by the participant's physician.
The groups treated continuously during the trial with either budesonide or nedocromil did not differ from placebo in lung function, control of asthma, or psychological status at the end of 4.8 years of post-trial follow-up; however, the decreased mean height in the budesonide group relative to the placebo group at the end of the trial (1.1 cm, P=0.005) remained statistically significant (0.9 cm, P=0.01) after an additional 4.8 years and was more pronounced in girls (1.7 cm; P=0.001) than boys (0.3 cm; P=0.49). Participants used inhaled corticosteroids during 30% of the post-trial period in all groups.
Clinically meaningful improvements in control of asthma and improvements in airway responsiveness achieved during continuous treatment with inhaled corticosteroids do not persist after continuous treatment is discontinued.
PMCID: PMC2942076  PMID: 19167726
18.  Does zafirlukast reduce future risk of asthma exacerbations in adults? Systematic review and meta-analysis 
Background and objective
The purpose of asthma management is to achieve a total asthma control that involves current control and future risk. It has proven efficacy in reducing asthma exacerbations, but the effect size of zafirlukast for asthma exacerbations of various severity is not systematically explored.
Randomized controlled trials were searched in PubMed Central, Web of Science, and Embase, where zafirlukast prevented asthma exacerbations in adults. The primary outcome was asthma exacerbations, the secondary outcomes were asthma exacerbations requiring systemic corticosteroids and emergency visits, respectively. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were pooled.
Twelve trials were identified. As first-line therapy, compared to those having placebo, the patients with chronic asthma receiving zafirlukast experienced statistically lower asthma exacerbations (OR = 0.68, 95% CI = [0.45, 1.00]), but it was not found that zafirlukast was superior to placebo in asthma exacerbations requiring systemic corticosteroids (OR = 0.76, 95% CI = [0.45, 1.29]). Furthermore, zafirlukast was inferior to ICs in asthma exacerbations (OR = 2.11, 95% CI = [1.35, 3.30]) and requiring systemic corticosteroids (OR = 3.71, 95% CI = [1.82, 7.59]). As add-on therapy, zafirlukast was not superior to placebo in asthma exacerbations (OR =0.99, 95% CI = [0.54, 1.81] and requiring emergency visits (OR = 0.72, 95% CI = [0.18, 2.99]). Intriguingly, there was not a significant difference in asthma exacerbations between zafirlukast and ICs (OR = 1.12, 95% CI = [0.53, 2.34]).
Our study suggests that zafirlukast, as the first-line therapy, significantly reduces mild to moderate but not severe asthma exacerbations. In the add-on regimen, zafirlukast could not reduce asthma exacerbations, which would perhaps result from small sample size and needs to be further studied.
PMCID: PMC4059702  PMID: 24936302
Asthma exacerbations; First-line and add-on therapy; Meta-analysis; Systematic review; Zafirlukast
19.  High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency among Inner-City African American Youth with Asthma in Washington, DC 
The Journal of Pediatrics  2010;156(6):948-952.
Low vitamin D levels have been implicated in the development of and increased morbidity from asthma. The prevalence of asthma among urban African American (AA) youth is high. The goal of this study was to examine the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency among urban AA youth with asthma compared with non-asthmatic controls.
Study Design
A cross-sectional case-control study was conducted at an urban pediatric medical center. Total 25-hydroxyvitamin D insufficiency (< 30 ng/mL) and deficiency (< 20 ng/mL) were assessed in urban self-reported AA patients, aged 6 to 20 years, with (n = 92) and without (n = 21) physician-diagnosed asthma.
Blood samples were available for 85 (92%) cases. After adjusting for age, gender, body mass index percentile, and season of sampling, the median vitamin D level of cases [18.5 (interquartile range (IQR): 11.3, 25.1)] was significantly lower than that of controls [40.4 (IQR: 34.6, 49.5), P = 0.002]. The prevalences of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency were significantly greater among cases than controls [73/85 (86%) vs. 4/21 (19%), adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 41.7 (95% confidence interval (95%CI): 4.4 to 398.5) for insufficiency and 46/85 (54%) vs. 1/21 (5%), adjusted OR = 19.5 (95%CI: 1.4 to 272.0) for deficiency].
A majority of this sample of urban AA youth with persistent asthma were vitamin D deficient and/or insufficient. Given the emerging associations between low vitamin D levels and asthma, strong consideration should be given to routine vitamin D testing in urban AA youth, particularly those with asthma. Clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation among urban AA youth with asthma are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3328513  PMID: 20236657
20.  Asthma in adults 
Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:1501.
About 10% of adults have suffered an attack of asthma, and up to 5% of these have severe disease that responds poorly to treatment. Patients with severe disease have an increased risk of death, but patients with mild-to-moderate disease are also at risk of exacerbations. Most guidelines about the management of asthma follow stepwise protocols. This review does not endorse or follow any particular protocol, but presents the evidence about specific interventions.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments for chronic asthma? What are the effects of treatments for acute asthma? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to June 2008 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 99 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions. For acute asthma: beta2 agonists (plus ipratropium bromide, pressured metered-dose inhalers, short-acting continuous nebulised, short-acting intermittent nebulised, and short-acting intravenous); corticosteroids (inhaled); corticosteroids (single oral, combined inhaled, and short courses); education about acute asthma; generalist care; helium-oxygen mixture (heliox); magnesium sulphate (intravenous and adding isotonic nebulised magnesium to inhaled beta2 agonists); mechanical ventilation; oxygen supplementation (controlled 28% oxygen and controlled 100% oxygen); and specialist care. For chronic asthma: beta2 agonists (adding long-acting inhaled beta2 agonists when asthma is poorly controlled by inhaled corticosteroids, or short-acting inhaled beta2 agonists as needed for symptom relief); inhaled corticosteroids (low dose and increasing dose); leukotriene antagonists (with or without inhaled corticosteroids); and theophylline (when poorly controlled by inhaled corticosteroids).
Key Points
About 10% of adults have suffered an attack of asthma, and up to 5% of these have severe disease that responds poorly to treatment. These people have an increased risk of death.
Most guidelines about the management of asthma follow stepwise protocols. This review does not endorse or follow any particular protocol, but presents the evidence about specific interventions.
Taking short-acting beta2 agonists as needed is as likely to relieve symptoms and improve lung function as a regular dosing schedule in adults with chronic asthma.
Adding long-acting beta2 agonists to inhaled corticosteroids decreases the number of exacerbations and improves symptoms, lung function, and quality of life in people with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma that is poorly controlled with corticosteroids.
CAUTION: Long-acting beta2 agonists have been associated with increased asthma-related mortality, and should always be used with inhaled corticosteroids.
Low-dose inhaled corticosteroids improve symptoms and lung function in persistent asthma compared with placebo or regular inhaled beta2 agonists. Leukotriene antagonists are more effective than placebo at reducing symptoms, but we don't know if adding leukotriene antagonists to inhaled corticosteroids is of benefit in people with chronic asthma.CAUTION: Leukotriene antagonists have been associated with a possible increased risk of neuropsychiatric events.Adding theophylline to inhaled corticosteroids may improve lung function in people with mild or moderate chronic asthma that is poorly controlled with inhaled corticosteroids, but we don't know if they are of benefit compared with long-acting beta2 agonists or leukotriene antagonists.
In people with an acute attack of asthma, supplementation of beta2 agonists with 28% oxygen, systemic corticosteroids (short courses), additional beta2 agonists (various routes of administration), or ipratropium bromide improve symptoms. Inhaled corticosteroids seem to improve lung function in people with acute asthma. However, we don't know whether inhaled corticosteroids are as effective as systemic corticosteroids at improving symptom severity, lung function, and hospital admissions. Inhaled plus oral corticosteroids and oral corticosteroids alone may have similar effects in preventing relapse and improving lung function.Beta2 agonists delivered from a metered-dose inhaler using a spacer are as effective at improving lung function as those given by a nebuliser or given intravenously. Giving beta2 agonists intravenously is more invasive than giving beta2 agonists by nebuliser.In people with severe acute asthma, continuous nebulised short-acting beta2 agonists may also improve lung function more than intermittent nebulised short-acting beta2 agonists.We don't know if intravenous magnesium sulphate, nebulised magnesium alone, or adding nebulised magnesium to inhaled beta2 agonists improves lung function in people with acute asthma.We don't know whether helium-oxygen mixture (heliox) is more effective at improving lung function compared with usual care. Mechanical ventilation may be life saving in severe acute asthma, but it is associated with high levels of morbidity. Specialist care of acute asthma may lead to improved outcomes compared with generalist care.We don't know whether education to help self-manage asthma improves symptom severity, lung function, or quality of life, but it may reduce hospital admissions.
PMCID: PMC2907598  PMID: 21718577
21.  Prospective Study of Physical Activity and Risk of Asthma Exacerbations in Older Women 
Rationale: The potential role of physical activity in preventing asthma exacerbations is unknown.
Objectives: To investigate the longitudinal association between regular physical activity and asthma exacerbations.
Methods: A total of 2,818 women with asthma from a large U.S. cohort (the Nurses' Health Study) were monitored from 1998 to 2000. Physical activity was self-reported at baseline, using a validated questionnaire, and categorized in quintiles. Exacerbations during follow-up were defined as a self-report of asthma-related hospitalization, emergency department visit, or urgent office visit. Baseline information about severity of asthma, treatment, previous exacerbations, sociodemographic factors, smoking, and other potential confounders was obtained.
Measurements and Main Results: Participants had a mean age of 63 years, and 71% had mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. About half of the women were ever-smokers (48% former, 6% current), and median physical activity was 10 MET·hours/week (equivalent to walking at a brisk pace for 20 minutes three times per week). Risk of exacerbations during follow-up decreased with increasing level of physical activity. In a multivariate logistic regression model, the higher level of physical activity, the lower risk of admission (odds ratio 0.85, 0.81, 0.78, and 0.76, for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th quintiles compared with the 1st quintile, P for trend = 0.05). There were no relevant differences on stratifying by age group, smoking status, body mass index, baseline use of inhaled corticosteroids, or previous exacerbations.
Conclusions: Regular physical activity was associated with reduced risk of exacerbations in women with asthma in this longitudinal study.
PMCID: PMC2689914  PMID: 19246716
motor activity; exercise; asthma; epidemiology
22.  The Severity-Dependent Relationship of Infant Bronchiolitis on the Risk and Morbidity of Early Childhood Asthma 
Infants hospitalized for bronchiolitis have a high rate of early childhood asthma. It is not known whether bronchiolitis severity correlates with the risk of early childhood asthma or with asthma-specific morbidity.
To determine whether a dose-response relationship exists between severity of infant bronchiolitis and both the odds of developing early childhood asthma and asthma-specific morbidity.
We conducted a population-based retrospective birth cohort study of term, healthy infants born 1995-2000 and enrolled in a statewide Medicaid program. We defined bronchiolitis severity by categorizing infants into mutually exclusive groups based on most advanced level of healthcare for bronchiolitis. Healthcare visits, asthma-specific medications, and demographics were identified entirely from Medicaid and linked vital records files. Asthma was ascertained between 4-5.5 years, and one-year asthma morbidity (hospitalization, emergency department visit, or oral corticosteroid course) was determined between 4.5-5.5 years, among children with prevalent asthma.
Among 90,341 children, 18% had an infant bronchiolitis visit, and these infants contributed to 31% of early childhood asthma diagnoses. Relative to children with no infant bronchiolitis visit, the adjusted odds ratios for asthma were 1.86 [95% confidence intervals 1.74-1.99], 2.41 (2.21-2.62) and 2.82 (2.61-3.03) in the Outpatient, Emergency Department, and Hospitalization groups respectively. Children hospitalized with bronchiolitis during infancy had increased early childhood asthma morbidity compared with children with no bronchiolitis visit.
To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate the dose-response relationship between severity of infant bronchiolitis and the increased odds of both developing early childhood asthma and experiencing asthma-specific morbidity.
PMCID: PMC2703291  PMID: 19361850
Bronchiolitis; asthma
23.  Combination formoterol and inhaled steroid versus beta2-agonist as relief medication for chronic asthma in adults and children 
Formoterol has a fast onset of action and can therefore be used to relieve symptoms of asthma. A combination inhaler can deliver formoterol with different doses of inhaled corticosteroid; when used as a reliever both drugs will be delivered more frequently when asthma symptoms increase. This has the potential to treat both bronchoconstriction and inflammation in the early stages of exacerbations.
To assess the efficacy and safety of combined inhalers containing both formoterol and an inhaled corticosteroid when used for reliever therapy in adults and children with chronic asthma.
Search methods
We last searched the Cochrane Airways Group trials register in April 2009, and no new studies were found for inclusion in the review.
Selection criteria
Randomised trials in adults and children with chronic asthma, where a combination inhaler containing formoterol and inhaled corticosteroid is compared with fast-acting beta2-agonist alone for the relief of asthma symptoms. This should be the only planned difference between the trial arms.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently extracted the characteristics and results of each study. Authors or manufacturers were asked to supply unpublished data in relation to primary outcomes.
Main results
Three trials involving 5905 participants were included. In patients with mild asthma who do not need maintenance treatment, no clinically important advantages of budesonide/formoterol as reliever were found in comparison to formoterol as reliever.
Two studies enrolled patients with more severe asthma who were not controlled on high doses of inhaled corticosteroids (around 700 mcg/day in adults), and had suffered a clinically important asthma exacerbation in the past year. Hospitalisations related to asthma in the two studies comparing budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and relief with the same dose of budesonide/formoterol for maintenance with terbutaline for relief yielded an odds ratio of 0.68 (95% CI 0.40 to 1.16), which was not a statistically significant reduction. In adults there was a reduction in exacerbations requiring oral corticosteroids compared to terbutaline, odds ratio 0.54 (95% CI 0.44 to 0.65), which translates into a number needed to treat over 12 months of 15 (95% CI 13 to 21). The study in children found less serious adverse events with budesonide/formoterol used for maintenance and relief. There was no significant difference in annual growth in children using budesonide/formoterol reliever in comparison to terbutaline.
Authors’ conclusions
In mild asthma it is not yet known whether patients who use a budesonide/formoterol inhaler for relief of asthma symptoms derive any clinically important benefits. In more severe asthma, two studies enrolled patients who were not controlled on inhaled corticosteroids, and had suffered an exacerbation in the previous year, and then had their maintenance inhaled corticosteroids reduced in both arms of the study. Under these conditions the studies demonstrated a reduction in the risk of exacerbations that require oral corticosteroids with budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and relief in comparison with budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and terbutaline or formoterol for relief. The incidence of serious adverse events in children was also less using budesonide/formoterol for maintenance and relief in one study, which similarly enrolled children who were not controlled on inhaled corticosteroids, and who had their maintenance inhaled corticosteroids reduced at the start of the study. This study also compared an explorative maintenance dose of budesonide/formoterol that is not approved for treatment.
PMCID: PMC4023854  PMID: 19160317
Administration, Inhalation; Anti-Asthmatic Agents [*administration & dosage]; Asthma [*drug therapy]; Bronchial Diseases [drug therapy]; Bronchodilator Agents [*administration & dosage]; Budesonide [*administration & dosage]; Chronic Disease; Constriction, Pathologic [drug therapy]; Drug Combinations; Ethanolamines [*administration & dosage]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Terbutaline [administration & dosage]; Adolescent; Adult; Child; Humans
24.  Outcomes After Periodic Use of Inhaled Corticosteroids in Children 
Many children with persistent asthma use inhaled corticosteroids on a periodic basis. Clinical trials in adults suggest that periodic use of inhaled corticosteroids may be effective for patients with mild persistent asthma. However, scant information exists on the clinical outcomes of children with asthma who are using inhaled corticosteroids on a periodic basis in real-world settings.
This prospective cohort study compared clinical outcomes during a 12-month follow-up period between children with persistent asthma whose parents believed that they were supposed to use inhaled steroids either (a) periodically or (b) daily year-round at the start of the period. The clinical outcomes studied were (1) asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits or hospitalizations, (2) uncontrolled asthma based on health care and medication use, and (3) outpatient visits for asthma.
Patients and methods
The study population included children with persistent asthma from two health plans whose parents reported that they were using inhaled corticosteroids during a baseline telephone interview. The interviews collected information on whether the children’s parents believed they were supposed to use inhaled corticosteroids on a periodic or daily basis, as well as baseline asthma symptom status, sociodemographic, and behavioral variables. We used computerized databases to identify clinical events for each child during the 12 months after their baseline interview. Uncontrolled asthma was defined as any asthma-related ED visit or hospitalization, two or more oral steroid prescription fills, or four or more beta-agonists canisters filled during the 12-month period. We compared these outcomes between the periodic versus daily users of inhaled corticosteroids using logistic regression analyses. We conducted both (1) a traditional logistic regression analysis in which we adjusted for selection bias by including covariates such as age, asthma physical status, sociodemographic and behavioral variables, and history of asthma-related health care use during the year before interview and (2) an analysis using propensity scores to more fully adjust for selection bias.
Of a total of 476 children in the study, 55% of parents believed their children were supposed to be using inhaled corticosteroids on a periodic basis and 45% believed their children were supposed to be using them daily year-round based on the baseline parent interview. At baseline, periodic inhaled corticosteroid users had less severe asthma than daily users based on several measures including better asthma physical status scores on the Children’s Health Survey for Asthma (mean 87 ± 16.0 vs. 81 ± 17.4, p = < 0.0001). During the year before the baseline interview, periodic users compared with daily users were less likely to have an ED visit or hospitalization (10% vs. 23%, p = 0.0001) and less likely to have had five or more albuterol prescription fills (13% vs. 31%, p < 0.0001). During the follow-up year, those who believed inhaled steroids were for periodic use were less likely than those who believed inhaled steroids were for daily use to have an ED visit or hospitalization for asthma (OR 0.36, 95% CI: 0.18–0.73), even after adjusting for baseline asthma status and other covariates. Similarly, those who believed inhaled steroids were for periodic use were less likely to have uncontrolled asthma, OR 0.38 (95% CI: 0.24–0.62). Analyses using propensity score adjustment yielded similar results to the logistic regression analyses.
Children whose parents believed they were supposed to use inhaled corticosteroids on a periodic basis had less severe asthma at baseline than those whose parents believed they were supposed to be using them daily. Periodic users were less likely than daily users to have adverse asthma outcomes during 1-year follow-up. This suggests that clinicians may be applying appropriate selection criteria by choosing patients with less severe asthma for periodic inhaled corticosteroid regimens.
PMCID: PMC4004094  PMID: 19544175
asthma; periodic inhaled corticosteroids; children
25.  The utility of forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75% of vital capacity in predicting childhood asthma morbidity and severity 
The Journal of Asthma  2012;49(6):586-592.
The forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), felt to be an objective measure of airway obstruction, is often normal in asthmatic children. The forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75% of vital capacity (FEF25-75) reflects small airway patency and has been found to be reduced in children with asthma. The aim of this study was to determine if FEF25-75 is associated with increased childhood asthma severity and morbidity in the setting of a normal FEV1, and to determine if bronchodilator responsiveness (BDR) as defined by FEF25-75 identifies more childhood asthmatics than does BDR defined by FEV1.
The Children’s Hospital Boston Pulmonary Function Test database was queried and the most recent spirometry result was retrieved for 744 children diagnosed with asthma between 10–18 years of age between October 2000 and October 2010. Electronic medical records in the 1 year prior and the 1 year following the date of spirometry were examined for asthma severity (mild, moderate or severe) and morbidity outcomes for three age, race and gender-matched subgroups: group A (n= 35) had a normal FEV1, FEV1/FVC and FEF25-75; Group B (n= 36) had solely a diminished FEV1/FVC; and Group C (n=37) had a normal FEV1, low FEV1/FVC and low FEF25-75. Morbidity outcomes analyzed included the presence of hospitalization, emergency department visit, intensive care unit admission, asthma exacerbation, and systemic steroid use.
Subjects with a low FEF25-75 (Group C) had nearly 3 times the odds (OR 2.8, p<0.01) of systemic corticosteroid use and 6 times the odds of asthma exacerbations (OR 6.3, p>0.01) compared with those who had normal spirometry (Group A). Using FEF25-75 to define bronchodilator responsiveness identified 53% more subjects with asthma than did using a definition based on FEV1.
A low FEF25-75 in the setting of a normal FEV1 is associated with increased asthma severity, systemic steroid use and asthma exacerbations in children. In addition, using the percent change in FEF25-75 from baseline may be helpful in identifying bronchodilator responsiveness in asthmatic children with a normal FEV1.
PMCID: PMC3398223  PMID: 22742446
spirometry; childhood asthma; FEF25-75; bronchodilator responsiveness

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