Asthma is the commonest chronic disease in children and a major reason for admissions to hospital, yet inadequate asthma control is present in 26% to 45% of children, states a review in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
The review incorporates the latest scientific information that has come out of randomized controlled trials since the Canadian Pediatric Asthma Consensus Guidelines were published in 2003. It was produced as an initiative of the Canadian Thoracic Society.
The review provides key points for distinguishing between transient asthma and chronic asthma in preschoolers and information on managing both types.
For children with intermittent asthma, using inhaled corticosteroids only during attacks does not appear to be effective. Regular therapy with inhaled steroids should be used for children with more severe intermittent or persistent symptoms. Treatment with leukotriene receptor antagonists during the viral season may help to reduce symptoms and visits to health care providers. The possibility of another condition should be considered if children do not respond to optimal therapy.
The authors state that more research is needed to evaluate effectiveness of treatments in young children.
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