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J Asthma. 2006 Jun-Jul;43(5):321-31.

Systemic corticosteroid therapy for acute asthma exacerbations.

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Department of Medicine, Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, New Jersey, USA.


Acute exacerbations of asthma may represent reactions to airway irritants or failures of chronic treatment. The costs to both the patient and society are high. Exacerbations often are frightening episodes that can cause significant morbidity and sometimes death. The emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations often required lead to significant health care expenses. Thus, preventing and optimizing management of acute exacerbations is critical. Corticosteroids are a cornerstone of asthma therapy. They have been shown to lower admission rates and reduce risk of relapse. This article provides an overview of the role of corticosteroids (including betamethasone, dexamethasone, methylprednisolone, and prednisolone) in the management of acute asthma exacerbations, with an aim toward effective decision making about the choice of therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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