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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.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201202-0351OC
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
Background
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.
Conclusions
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
Background
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001753.
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)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001753
PMCID: PMC4219664  PMID: 25369282
3.  The Effect of Vitamin D Status on Pediatric Asthma at a University Hospital, Thailand 
Purpose
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.
Methods
Asthmatic children were evaluated for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, pulmonary function tests, a skin prick test, and the level of asthma control.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.4168/aair.2013.5.5.289
PMCID: PMC3756175  PMID: 24003385
Asthma; children; corticosteroid; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; vitamin D
4.  Severe and uncontrolled adult asthma is associated with vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):25.
Background
Vitamin D has effects on the innate and adaptive immune system. In asthmatic children low vitamin D levels are associated with poor asthma control, reduced lung function, increased medication intake, and exacerbations. Little is known about vitamin D in adult asthma patients or its association with asthma severity and control.
Methods
Clinical parameters of asthma control and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) serum concentrations were evaluated in 280 adult asthma patients (mean ± SD: 45.0 ± 13.8 yrs., 40% male, FEV1 74.9 ± 23.4%, 55% severe, 51% uncontrolled).
Results
25(OH)D concentrations in adult asthmatics were low (25.6 ±11.8 ng/ml) and vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency (vitamin D <30 ng/ml) was common (67%). 25(OH)D levels were related to asthma severity (intermittent: 31.1 ± 13.0 ng/ml, mild: 27.3 ± 11.9 ng/ml, moderate: 26.5 ± 12.0 ng/ml, severe: 24.0 ± 11.8 ng/ml, p = 0.046) and control (controlled: 29.5 ± 12.5 ng/ml, partly controlled 25.9 ± 10.8 ng/ml, uncontrolled: 24.2 ± 11.8 ng/ml, p = 0.030). The frequency of vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency was significantly higher in patients with severe or uncontrolled asthma and was associated with a lower FEV1 (vitamin D <30 vs. ≥30 ng/ml 2.3 ± 0.9 L vs. 2.7 ± 1.0 L, p = 0.006), higher levels of exhaled NO (45 ± 46 ppb vs. 31 ± 37 ppb, p = 0.023), a higher BMI (28.3 ± 6.2 vs. 25.1 ± 3.9, p < 0.001), and sputum eosinophilia (5.1 ± 11.8% vs. 0.5 ± 1.0%, p = 0.005). The use of oral corticosteroids or sputum eosinophilia was associated with a 20% or 40% higher risk of vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency.
Conclusions
25(OH)D levels below 30 ng/ml are common in adult asthma and most pronounced in patients with severe and/or uncontrolled asthma, supporting the hypothesis that improving suboptimal vitamin D status might be effective in prevention and treatment of asthma.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-14-25
PMCID: PMC3648461  PMID: 23432854
Asthma; BMI; Corticosteroids; Eosinophils; Vitamin D
5.  Corticosteroid use and bone mineral accretion in children with asthma: effect modification by vitamin D 
Background
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).
Objective
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.
Methods
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].
Results
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.04.005
PMCID: PMC3387323  PMID: 22608570
Asthma; vitamin D; bone mineral density; corticosteroids
6.  Vitamin D Insufficiency and Asthma Severity in Adults From Costa Rica 
Purpose
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that vitamin D insufficiency is common among our cohort of asthmatic adults. Lower vitamin D levels are associated with asthma severity.
doi:10.4168/aair.2013.5.5.283
PMCID: PMC3756174  PMID: 24003384
Adult; asthma; vitamin D
7.  DO IT Trial: vitamin D Outcomes and Interventions in Toddlers – a TARGet Kids! randomized controlled trial 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:37.
Background
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.
Methods/Design
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.
Discussion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-14-37
PMCID: PMC3942179  PMID: 24506910
Vitamin D deficiency; Vitamin D supplementation; Infant; Toddler
8.  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.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200808-1361OC
PMCID: PMC2675563  PMID: 19179486
9.  Effect of Vitamin D3 on Asthma Treatment Failures in Adults With Symptomatic Asthma and Lower Vitamin D Levels 
JAMA  2014;311(20):2083-2091.
IMPORTANCE
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.
OBJECTIVE
To evaluate if vitamin D supplementation would improve the clinical efficacy of inhaled corticosteroids in patients with symptomatic asthma and lower vitamin D levels.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
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.
INTERVENTIONS
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.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
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).
RESULTS
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]).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
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
clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01248065
doi:10.1001/jama.2014.5052
PMCID: PMC4217655  PMID: 24838406
10.  Relationship between Vitamin D and Childhood Asthma: A Case–Control Study 
Iranian Journal of Pediatrics  2014;24(6):710-714.
Objective:
Studies determining the relationship between serum vitamin D status and childhood asthma have yielded controversial results. Findings indicated that vitamin D deficiency is associated with asthma and airway hyper responsiveness. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between serum vitamin D status and childhood asthma.
Methods:
Data were obtained from 200 asthmatic children (age 3–12 years) and 200 healthy controls. Serum levels of 25(OH) vitamin D, total IgE, calcium, phosphorus, parathormone (PTH) and eosinophil count were measured in both asthmatic children and healthy controls. Also, the mean values of 25(OH) vitamin D were compared with asthma symptom severities.
Findings:
There was a significant decrease in the concentration of serum 25(OH) vitamin D in the asthmatic patients as compared with the controls (20.34±2.8 vs 25.39±4.1 ng/mL, 95%CI: 1.46–3.86, P=0.01). Out of total asthmatic subjects, 40 (20%) were vitamin D sufficient, 48 (24%) were insufficient, and 112 (56%) were deficient. Total IgE concentration was also significantly higher in asthmatic patients having vitamin D deficiency (132.4±20.1 IU/ml, 95%CI: 1.38–3.75, P=0.03). Comparing asthmatic patients with healthy controls, odds of having vitamin D level less than 20ng/mL was 2.47.
Conclusion:
Our findings suggest that vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency may be positively related to the prevalence of asthma in children.
PMCID: PMC4442832  PMID: 26019776
Vitamin D status; Asthma; Children; Total IgE
11.  The Relationship Between Serum 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D Levels and Asthma in Children 
Purpose
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.4168/aair.2011.3.4.251
PMCID: PMC3178823  PMID: 21966605
Asthma; vitamin D; allergy
12.  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
13.  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 
Background
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.
Objective
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2011.09.034
PMCID: PMC3360942  PMID: 22051697
Gene-environment interaction; genome-wide association study; vitamin D; asthma exacerbation
14.  Relationship between Serum Vitamin D, Disease Severity, and Airway Remodeling in Children with Asthma 
Rationale
Little is known about vitamin D status and its effect on asthma pathophysiology in children with severe, therapy-resistant asthma (STRA).
Objectives
Relationships between serum vitamin D, lung function, and pathology were investigated in pediatric STRA.
Methods
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201107-1239OC
PMCID: PMC3471128  PMID: 21908411
vitamin D; asthma; remodeling; airway smooth muscle; pediatrics
15.  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.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201203-0431OC
PMCID: PMC3406083  PMID: 22652028
vitamin D; asthma exacerbations; Puerto Ricans; childhood
16.  Predictors of Remitting, Periodic, and Persistent Childhood Asthma 
Background
The course of mild to moderate persistent asthma in children is not clearly established.
Objective
To determine the rate and predictors for remitting, periodic, and persistent asthma in adolescence.
Methods
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).
Results
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].
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2009.10.037
PMCID: PMC2844768  PMID: 20159245
Remission; Natural history; Persistent asthma
17.  Childhood asthma and vitamin D deficiency in Turkey: is there cause and effect relationship between them? 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1824-7288-39-78
PMCID: PMC3892001  PMID: 24330502
18.  276 A 4-Year Follow-up in Children With Moderate/Severe Asthma after Withdrawal 1 Year Omalizumab Treatment 
Background
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.
Methods
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
Results
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
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1097/01.WOX.0000412033.47007.6f
PMCID: PMC3512580
19.  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.
Methods
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.
Results
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]).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/2049-6958-9-30
PMCID: PMC4059702  PMID: 24936302
Asthma exacerbations; First-line and add-on therapy; Meta-analysis; Systematic review; Zafirlukast
20.  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.
Objective
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.
Results
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].
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.12.033
PMCID: PMC3328513  PMID: 20236657
21.  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.
Objectives
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.11.036
PMCID: PMC2942076  PMID: 19167726
22.  Guideline on allergen-specific immunotherapy in IgE-mediated allergic diseases 
Allergo Journal International  2014;23(8):282-319.
Summary
The present guideline (S2k) on allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT) was established by the German, Austrian and Swiss professional associations for allergy in consensus with the scientific specialist societies and professional associations in the fields of otolaryngology, dermatology and venereology, pediatric and adolescent medicine, pneumology as well as a German patient organization (German Allergy and Asthma Association; Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund, DAAB) according to the criteria of the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wissenschaftlichen Medizinischen Fachgesellschaften, AWMF).
AIT is a therapy with disease-modifying effects. By administering allergen extracts, specific blocking antibodies, toler-ance-inducing cells and mediators are activated. These prevent further exacerbation of the allergen-triggered immune response, block the specific immune response and attenuate the inflammatory response in tissue.
Products for SCIT or SLIT cannot be compared at present due to their heterogeneous composition, nor can allergen concentrations given by different manufacturers be compared meaningfully due to the varying methods used to measure their active ingredients. Non-modified allergens are used for SCIT in the form of aqueous or physically adsorbed (depot) extracts, as well as chemically modified allergens (allergoids) as depot extracts. Allergen extracts for SLIT are used in the form of aqueous solutions or tablets.
The clinical efficacy of AIT is measured using various scores as primary and secondary study endpoints. The EMA stipulates combined symptom and medication scores as primary endpoint. A harmonization of clinical endpoints, e. g., by using the combined symptom and medication scores (CSMS) recommended by the EAACI, is desirable in the future in order to permit the comparison of results from different studies. The current CONSORT recommendations from the ARIA/GA2LEN group specify standards for the evaluation, presentation and publication of study results.
According to the Therapy allergen ordinance (TAV), preparations containing common allergen sources (pollen from grasses, birch, alder, hazel, house dust mites, as well as bee and wasp venom) need a marketing authorization in Germany. During the marketing authorization process, these preparations are examined regarding quality, safety and efficacy. In the opinion of the authors, authorized allergen preparations with documented efficacy and safety, or preparations tradeable under the TAV for which efficacy and safety have already been documented in clinical trials meeting WAO or EMA standards, should be preferentially used. Individual formulations (NPP) enable the prescription of rare allergen sources (e.g., pollen from ash, mugwort or ambrosia, mold Alternaria, animal allergens) for specific immunotherapy. Mixing these allergens with TAV allergens is not permitted.
Allergic rhinitis and its associated co-morbidities (e. g., bronchial asthma) generate substantial direct and indirect costs. Treatment options, in particular AIT, are therefore evaluated using cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses. From a long-term perspective, AIT is considered to be significantly more cost effective in allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma than pharmacotherapy, but is heavily dependent on patient compliance.
Meta-analyses provide unequivocal evidence of the efficacy of SCIT and SLIT for certain allergen sources and age groups. Data from controlled studies differ in terms of scope, quality and dosing regimens and require product-specific evaluation. Therefore, evaluating individual preparations according to clearly defined criteria is recommended. A broad transfer of the efficacy of certain preparations to all preparations administered in the same way is not endorsed. The website of the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (www.dgaki.de/leitlinien/s2k-leitlinie-sit; DGAKI: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allergologie und klinische Immunologie) provides tables with specific information on available products for AIT in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The tables contain the number of clinical studies per product in adults and children, the year of market authorization, underlying scoring systems, number of randomized and analyzed subjects and the method of evaluation (ITT, FAS, PP), separately given for grass pollen, birch pollen and house dust mite allergens, and the status of approval for the conduct of clinical studies with these products.
Strong evidence of the efficacy of SCIT in pollen allergy-induced allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in adulthood is well-documented in numerous trials and, in childhood and adolescence, in a few trials. Efficacy in house dust mite allergy is documented by a number of controlled trials in adults and few controlled trials in children. Only a few controlled trials, independent of age, are available for mold allergy (in particular Alternaria). With regard to animal dander allergies (primarily to cat allergens), only small studies, some with methodological deficiencies are available. Only a moderate and inconsistent therapeutic effect in atopic dermatitis has been observed in the quite heterogeneous studies conducted to date. SCIT has been well investigated for individual preparations in controlled bronchial asthma as defined by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) 2007 and intermittent and mild persistent asthma (GINA 2005) and it is recommended as a treatment option, in addition to allergen avoidance and pharmacotherapy, provided there is a clear causal link between respiratory symptoms and the relevant allergen.
The efficacy of SLIT in grass pollen-induced allergic rhinoconjunctivitis is extensively documented in adults and children, whilst its efficacy in tree pollen allergy has only been shown in adults. New controlled trials (some with high patient numbers) on house dust mite allergy provide evidence of efficacy of SLIT in adults.
Compared with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, there are only few studies on the efficacy of SLIT in allergic asthma. In this context, newer studies show an efficacy for SLIT on asthma symptoms in the subgroup of grass pollen allergic children, adolescents and adults with asthma and efficacy in primary house dust mite allergy-induced asthma in adolescents aged from 14 years and in adults.
Aspects of secondary prevention, in particular the reduction of new sensitizations and reduced asthma risk, are important rationales for choosing to initiate treatment early in childhood and adolescence. In this context, those products for which the appropriate effects have been demonstrated should be considered.
SCIT or SLIT with pollen or mite allergens can be performed in patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis using allergen extracts that have been proven to be effective in at least one double-blind placebo-controlled (DBPC) study. At present, clinical trials are underway for the indication in asthma due to house dust mite allergy, some of the results of which have already been published, whilst others are still awaited (see the DGAKI table “Approved/potentially completed studies” via www.dgaki.de/Leitlinien/s2k-Leitlinie-sit (according to www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu)). When establishing the indication for AIT, factors that favour clinical efficacy should be taken into consideration. Differences between SCIT and SLIT are to be considered primarily in terms of contraindications. In individual cases, AIT may be justifiably indicated despite the presence of contraindications.
SCIT injections and the initiation of SLIT are performed by a physician experienced in this type of treatment and who is able to administer emergency treatment in the case of an allergic reaction. Patients must be fully informed about the procedure and risks of possible adverse events, and the details of this process must be documented (see “Treatment information sheet”; available as a handout via www.dgaki.de/Leitlinien/s2k-Leitlinie-sit). Treatment should be performed according to the manufacturer‘s product information leaflet. In cases where AIT is to be performed or continued by a different physician to the one who established the indication, close cooperation is required in order to ensure that treatment is implemented consistently and at low risk. In general, it is recommended that SCIT and SLIT should only be performed using preparations for which adequate proof of efficacy is available from clinical trials.
Treatment adherence among AIT patients is lower than assumed by physicians, irrespective of the form of administration. Clearly, adherence is of vital importance for treatment success. Improving AIT adherence is one of the most important future goals, in order to ensure efficacy of the therapy.
Severe, potentially life-threatening systemic reactions during SCIT are possible, but – providing all safety measures are adhered to – these events are very rare. Most adverse events are mild to moderate and can be treated well.
Dose-dependent adverse local reactions occur frequently in the mouth and throat in SLIT. Systemic reactions have been described in SLIT, but are seen far less often than with SCIT. In terms of anaphylaxis and other severe systemic reactions, SLIT has a better safety profile than SCIT.
The risk and effects of adverse systemic reactions in the setting of AIT can be effectively reduced by training of personnel, adhering to safety standards and prompt use of emergency measures, including early administration of i. m. epinephrine. Details on the acute management of anaphylactic reactions can be found in the current S2 guideline on anaphylaxis issued by the AWMF (S2-AWMF-LL Registry Number 061-025).
AIT is undergoing some innovative developments in many areas (e. g., allergen characterization, new administration routes, adjuvants, faster and safer dose escalation protocols), some of which are already being investigated in clinical trials.
Cite this as Pfaar O, Bachert C, Bufe A, Buhl R, Ebner C, Eng P, Friedrichs F, Fuchs T, Hamelmann E, Hartwig-Bade D, Hering T, Huttegger I, Jung K, Klimek L, Kopp MV, Merk H, Rabe U, Saloga J, Schmid-Grendelmeier P, Schuster A, Schwerk N, Sitter H, Umpfenbach U, Wedi B, Wöhrl S, Worm M, Kleine-Tebbe J. Guideline on allergen-specific immunotherapy in IgE-mediated allergic diseases – S2k Guideline of the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI), the Society for Pediatric Allergy and Environmental Medicine (GPA), the Medical Association of German Allergologists (AeDA), the Austrian Society for Allergy and Immunology (ÖGAI), the Swiss Society for Allergy and Immunology (SGAI), the German Society of Dermatology (DDG), the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (DGHNO-KHC), the German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ), the Society for Pediatric Pneumology (GPP), the German Respiratory Society (DGP), the German Association of ENT Surgeons (BV-HNO), the Professional Federation of Paediatricians and Youth Doctors (BVKJ), the Federal Association of Pulmonologists (BDP) and the German Dermatologists Association (BVDD). Allergo J Int 2014;23:282–319
doi:10.1007/s40629-014-0032-2
PMCID: PMC4479478  PMID: 26120539
allergen-specific immunotherapy; AIT; Hyposensitization; guideline; allergen; allergen extract; allergic disease; allergic rhinitis; allergic asthma
23.  Asthma in adults 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:1501.
Introduction
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).
Results
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.
Conclusions
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
24.  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.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200812-1929OC
PMCID: PMC2689914  PMID: 19246716
motor activity; exercise; asthma; epidemiology
25.  The Severity-Dependent Relationship of Infant Bronchiolitis on the Risk and Morbidity of Early Childhood Asthma 
Background
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.
Objectives
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2009.02.021
PMCID: PMC2703291  PMID: 19361850
Bronchiolitis; asthma

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