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Eur Respir J. 2007 Dec;30(6):1143-9. Epub 2007 Aug 9.

Anti-inflammatory effects of high-dose inhaled fluticasone versus oral prednisone in asthma exacerbations.

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  • 1Departament de Pneumologia, Clínica d'Asma i allèrgia, Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. belda_josram@gva.es


The objective of the present study was to investigate the kinetics of high doses of inhaled steroid fluticasone in comparison with oral steroid prednisone on plasma protein leakage and bronchial eosinophilia in adults with moderate asthma exacerbations. The study design was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled prospective trial. In total, 45 patients treated at the emergency department for moderate asthma exacerbations were recruited and 39 were assigned to receive fluticasone and placebo of prednisone (19 patients), or prednisone and placebo of fluticasone (20 patients). Medication was administered to all patients via a metered-dose inhaler and spacer (16 puffs; 4,000 microg.day(-1) or placebo) plus one pill (prednisone 30 mg.day(-1) or placebo). Spirometry and induced sputum for differential cell counts, albumin and alpha(2)-macroglobulin levels and blood eosinophils, interleukin-5 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor levels were obtained before treatment and at 2, 6 and 24 h after treatment. Symptoms clearly improved after 24 h in both groups. No differences were seen between groups in peak expiratory flow or forced expiratory flow in one second, which improved progressively but then decayed slightly after 24 h. Eosinophil counts in sputum also improved over time in both groups. The effect was faster with fluticasone than with prednisone, but was partially lost at 24 h. However, plasma proteins in sputum and eosinophil count in blood both decreased until 24 h, with no significant differences between groups. There was no correlation between eosinophil counts and plasmatic protein levels. In conclusion, both treatments improved symptoms, airway obstruction and inflammation, and plasma protein leakage at 24 h. Prednisone reduced blood eosinophil counts, while fluticasone reduced airway eosinophil counts, suggesting that the anti-inflammatory performance of fluticasone is exerted locally.

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