Several medications can help control children’s asthma, but no clinical trials have directly compared them. A new study funded by NIH tested the effectiveness and safety of three common asthma medicines. It found that inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective initial daily therapy for children with mild to moderate persistent asthma.
The researchers divided 285 children, ages 6-14, into 3 groups, each receiving a different daily therapy for their asthma: a low dose inhaled corticosteroid (Flovent); a combination of an even lower dose inhaled corticosteroid along with a bronchodilator (Advair and Serevent); and an oral anti-leukotriene tablet (Singulair).
During the 48 weeks of treatment, the children taking inhaled corticosteroid alone showed better lung function than those in the other two groups. The inhaled corticosteroid alone and combination therapies were similarly effective at controlling symptoms, and both were more effective than the anti-leukotriene. None of the treatments significantly affected children’s growth, a concern for many parents and doctors.
The study shows that inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective therapy for children of this age group with this type of asthma.