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Intern Med. 1995 Feb;34(2):77-80.

Long-term follow-up of patients with a history of near fatal episodes; can inhaled corticosteroids reduce the risk of death from asthma?

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Department of Respiratory Diseases, Kobe City General Hospital.


We retrospectively studied the use of inhaled corticosteroids in patients who experienced near fatal episodes (NFE) to determine whether such therapy reduces the risk of death. Forty-eight patients who had near fatal episodes of asthma between January 1981 and December 1989 were divided into two groups. Group A comprised 19 patients who received beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) daily (mean dose of BDP:687 micrograms/day: 200-2,000) following NFE, and Group B, 28 patients who did not take BDP or who took less than 6 mg BDP/month. During the follow-up period (Group A:82.9 months, Group B:66.2 months), no patients in Group A died, but eight deaths occurred in Group B (mean period between near fatal episode and death was 31.5 months: 12-66). These results suggest that the regular use of inhaled corticosteroids, even at low doses, may reduce the risk of death in patients who experience NFE.

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