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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1998 Sep;102(3):363-7.

Comparison of 3 different doses of budesonide and placebo on the early asthmatic response to inhaled allergen.

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  • 1Royal University Hospital, University of Saskatchewan, Department of Medicine, Saskatoon, Canada.



A simple laboratory method to evaluate relative potency of inhaled corticosteroids in asthma would be valuable. Single-dose studies with the allergen-induced late asthmatic response have failed to show a useful dose-response relationship. Treatment for several days with inhaled corticosteroids will also inhibit the allergen-induced early asthmatic response.


Twelve atopic asthmatic subjects were studied during a season when no medications were required except ipratropium bromide as needed. These subjects had positive allergen and methacholine inhalation tests and FEV1 greater than 70% of predicted value. A double-blind, randomized, cross-over study compared placebo and budesonide 100, 200, and 400 microg administered by means of Turbuhaler twice daily for 7 days with 6-day washout periods. Methacholine PC20 was measured before and after 6 days of treatment, and allergen PC15 was measured after 7 days of treatment.


The allergen PC15 (n = 11) was significantly larger (P = .0001) for all doses of budesonide compared with placebo, but there was no significant difference between the 3 doses of budesonide, and no dose response was demonstrated. The methacholine PC20 was significantly larger after all budesonide treatments compared with placebo (P = .024), but there was no difference between the 3 doses. There was a progressive increase in the allergen PC15 chronologically (sequence effect) that was not explained by improvement in FEV1 or airway responsiveness; sequence effects were not seen for FEV1 or for pretreatment or posttreatment methacholine PC20. Statistical adjustment for sequence effect did not alter allergen PC15 statistics.


A 7-day course of budesonide administered by means of Turbuhaler at 200, 400, or 800 microg per day provided marked and significant inhibition of the allergen-induced early asthmatic response compared with placebo. There was, however, no difference between the 3 doses. Therefore this method with these doses is not useful for providing assessment of relative potency.

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