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Pediatrics. 1996 May;97(5):722-5.

Nebulized budesonide is as effective as nebulized adrenaline in moderately severe croup.

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  • 1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children.



Nebulized budesonide and nebulized adrenaline have been shown to be effective in the treatment of moderately severe croup. However, there has been no direct comparison of these therapies. We undertook a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel group study in 66 hospitalized children with viral or spasmodic croup.


Children 0.5 to 6 years of age were assessed using a validated croup symptom score (stridor, 0 through 4; cough, 0 through 3; retractions, 0 through 3; dyspnea, 0 through 3; and color, 0 through 4) at 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 12, and 24 hours after nebulization. Patients received either budesonide (2 mg/4 mL) or L-adrenaline (4 mg/4 mL) via nebulization. The primary outcome measure was change in the total croup symptom score.


Thirty-five children received budesonide and 31 received adrenaline. There was no significant difference in baseline features, including croup score (mean [95% confidence interval]: budesonide, 7.1 [6.7-7.5]; adrenaline, 7.7 [7.3-8.1]). All patients had significant improvement from baseline, and there was not significant difference between the two treatments, as measured by change in croup scores, change in oxygen saturation, duration of hospitalization, number of subsequent treatments with systemic steroids or adrenaline, and adverse events. No child required intubation.


This study does not show any difference in efficacy and safety between nebulized budesonide and nebulized adrenaline in the treatment of acute upper airway obstruction in patients with moderately severe croup.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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