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Pediatr Pulmonol. 1995 Dec;20(6):355-61.

Oral and inhaled steroids in croup: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

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Emergency Department, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia.


It was the objective of this study to compare the efficacy of oral dexamethasone and inhaled budesonide in children hospitalized with croup, using a three-way, double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial design. The trial was carried out in the Emergency Department Observation Ward of a tertiary pediatric hospital. The subjects for the study were 80 children (age range 5 to 158 months) who were hospitalized with croup. Children received either 2 mg of nebulised budesonide, dexamethasone syrup (0.6 mg/kg) or a placebo. Median duration of hospitalization was shorter for children treated with dexamethasone (12 hr) and budesonide (13 hr) compared to placebo (20 hr) (P < 0.03). There was no significant difference in hospitalization time between children treated with dexamethasone and budesonide. Median time to a croup score of < or = 1 was shorter for children treated with dexamethasone (2 hr) or budesonide (3 hr) compared to those who received placebo (8 hr) (P < 0.01). Croup scores for both steroid groups were significantly lower than the placebo group by 1 hr and remained so subsequently. The croup scores did not differ significantly in the 2 steroid treated groups. Six of the 30 children (20%) in the placebo group required adrenaline after the first hour compared to none of the 50 children in the steroid treated groups (P < 0.02). We conclude that oral dexamethasone and inhaled budesonide are both effective in reducing symptoms and duration of hospitalization in children with croup.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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