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Eur Respir J. 1998 Jun;11(6):1240-7.

Effect of low-dose beclomethasone dipropionate on asthma control and airway inflammation.

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  • 1Dept of Medicine and the Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.


The effects of usual or low doses of inhaled corticosteroids on airway mucosal inflammation have not yet been examined. We therefore, compared the effects of inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) 336 microg x day(-1) on asthma control outcomes and markers of airway inflammation. Twenty-four adult subjects with mild and moderate asthma were randomized to receive either BDP or placebo for four weeks; then subjects entered a single blind four week placebo run-in period. We found that the BDP group had significantly greater improvements in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), morning peak flow, and rescue salbutamol use than the placebo-treated group. The improvement in FEV1 largely reversed one week after treatment was stopped. The decrease in the median percentage of eosinophils in induced sputum in the BDP group from 3.8% to 3.4% was not significant, but because eosinophils increased from 8.4% to 12.7% in the placebo group, there was a significant difference between treatment groups (p=0.03). There was no significant difference between groups during treatment in the levels of eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), tryptase mucin-like glycoprotein, or fibrinogen in induced sputum. The change in FEV1 in the BDP group did not correlate significantly with the change in eosinophil percentage or ECP levels. We concluded that four weeks of treatment with inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate 336 microg x day(-1) was associated with significant improvements in peak flow, forced expiratory volume in one second, and rescue salbutamol use in asthmatic subjects but was not associated with large reductions in markers of eosinophilic inflammation, bronchovascular permeability, or mucus hypersecretion.

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