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Allergy. 2014 Apr;69(4):510-6. doi: 10.1111/all.12368. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

The risk of asthma exacerbation after reducing inhaled corticosteroids: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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  • 1Division of Allergic Diseases, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Asthma guidelines suggest reducing controller medications when asthma is stable.

METHODS:

The purpose of the study is to estimate the risk of asthma exacerbation in stable asthmatics who reduce inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) compared to those who maintain a stable ICS dose. We identified articles from a systematic review of English and non-English articles using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and CENTRAL (inception to May 25, 2013). We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with a stable asthma run-in period of 4 weeks or more, an intervention to reduce ICS, and a follow-up period of at least 3 months.

RESULTS:

The search strategy identified 2253 potential articles, of which 206 were reviewed at the full-text level and 6 met criteria for inclusion. The relative risk of an asthma exacerbation in individuals who reduced ICS compared to those who maintained the same ICS dose was 1.25 (95% CI 0.96, 1.62; P = 0.10; I(2)  = 0%) in studies with a mean follow-up of 22 weeks. Individuals who reduced ICS had a decreased% predicted FEV1 of 0.87% (95% CI -1.58%,3.33%; P = 0.49, I(2)  = 58%) and a decreased mean morning peak expiratory flow of 9.57 l/min (95% CI 1.25, 17.90; P = 0.02; I(2)  = 74%) compared to those individuals who maintained a stable ICS dose.

CONCLUSIONS:

Asthma exacerbations were statistically no more likely among individuals who reduced ICS compared to those who maintained their ICS dose, supporting current guidelines which recommend decreasing ICS by 50% after a period of asthma stability.

© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

KEYWORDS:

anti-asthmatic agents; asthma; clinical trial; glucocorticoids; step down

PMID:
24571355
[PubMed - in process]
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