Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Steroid Medications Don't Work In Treating Lower Respiratory Infections In Children

Date:
July 28, 2007
Source:
University of Utah
Summary:
The use of steroid medication to treat bronchiolitis -- a common viral lower respiratory infection in infants -- does not prevent hospitalization or improve their respiratory symptoms, according to a recent study. The findings resolve controversy from prior research and are expected to help guide treatment for the most common cause of infant hospitalization.

The use of steroid medication to treat bronchiolitis -- a common viral lower respiratory infection in infants -- does not prevent hospitalization or improve their respiratory symptoms, according to a study published in the July 26 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. The findings by the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) resolve controversy from prior research and are expected to help guide treatment for the most common cause of infant hospitalization.

The study compared hospitalization rates for 600 children between the ages of 2 months and 12 months who visited emergency rooms with moderate-to-severe bronchiolitis. Patients were treated with either a dose of dexamethasone (a glucocorticoid form of steroid medication) or a placebo and evaluated after one hour, and again at four hours.

The hospital admission rate for both groups was identical at nearly 40 percent. Both groups improved during treatment, but the placebo group did as well as the group treated with active medication. The study was conducted in the emergency departments at 20 hospitals across the United States between November and April during a three-year period. Bronchiolitis is most common during the winter months.

"We learned that a commonly used treatment doesn't work," said Howard M. Corneli, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah and the principal investigator on the study. "Now that we've demonstrated glucocorticoids aren't effective in treating bronchiolitis, we can focus our efforts on finding better treatments and better preventive strategies."

Bronchiolitis is the leading cause of hospitalization for infants in the United States and accounts for more than 100,000 admissions each year. Hospital charges associated with the disease exceed $700 million annually.

Corneli says the best solution to the problem of bronchiolitis might be to find a vaccine for the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) -- the most common cause of bronchiolitis. RSV accounts for 50 to 80 percent of all bronchiolitis cases.

Bronchiolitis infections begin most frequently with a fever, runny nose, coughing, and wheezing. Most children recover from the illness in eight to 15 days. The majority of children hospitalized for bronchiolitis infections are under 6 months old. Although many children with bronchiolitis have mild infections, and most don't need hospitalization, children born prematurely or who suffer from heart and lung disease are most at risk for complications.

"This study provides solid evidence to guide treatment of this common illness," said Joseph Zorc, M.D., an emergency physician at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and a lead co-investigator. "Current recommendations suggest that simple supportive care is the best available treatment for bronchiolitis. This study will help resolve some of the uncertainty for physicians and families and prevent unnecessary side effects."

Both physicians note that glucocorticoid medications still play an important role in other respiratory illnesses of childhood such as asthma and croup. They point out these medications are not the androgenic steroids sometimes abused by athletes, and that the side effects seen with long-term steroid use are not a risk in the short-course treatments used for croup and asthma attacks.

Nathan Kuppermann, M.D., a professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at the University of California, Davis, chair of the PECARN network's steering committee, and the senior investigator of the study, stated, "this study also demonstrates the power of a research network like PECARN to resolve the difficult-to-answer questions in our field. The network is able to generate definitive research findings because of its size and substantial infrastructure to conduct high-quality work."

The other lead co-investigators were Prashant Mahajan, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at the Children's Hospital of Michigan, and Kathy Shaw, M.D., chief of emergency medicine at CHOP.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Utah. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Utah. "Steroid Medications Don't Work In Treating Lower Respiratory Infections In Children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070725175403.htm>.
University of Utah. (2007, July 28). Steroid Medications Don't Work In Treating Lower Respiratory Infections In Children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070725175403.htm
University of Utah. "Steroid Medications Don't Work In Treating Lower Respiratory Infections In Children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070725175403.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins