[Bronchodilators via metered-dose inhaler with spacer in the pediatric emergency department: what is the dosage?]

J Benito Fernández, N Trebolazabala Quirante, M Landa Garriz, S Mintegi Raso, C González Díaz
Anales de Pediatría: Publicación Oficial de la Asociación Española de Pediatría (A.E.P.) 2006, 64 (1): 46-51

INTRODUCTION: Bronchodilators administrated through a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) with spacer are as effective as nebulizers in the treatment of acute asthma exacerbations in childhood. However, consensus is lacking on the most suitable dosage.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of distinct salbutamol and terbutaline doses delivered via an MDI with spacer for the treatment of acute asthma in the pediatric emergency department.

METHODS: This was a prospective, double-blind randomized study. All consecutive children (n = 324) between 2 and 14 years of age with acute asthma exacerbations treated in the pediatric emergency department between October 1 and November 30, 2004, were included. Two treatment groups were established: one group received a number of puffs equivalent to half the child's weight (1 puff of salbutamol = 100 microg and 1 puff of terbutaline = 250 microg) and the other group received a number of puffs equivalent to one-third of the child's weight.

RESULTS: Three hundred twenty-four episodes were studied; there were 164 children in the first group and 160 in the second. There were no significant differences between the two groups in the mean (6 SD) age (58.34 +/- 34.72 vs 66.04 +/- 36.45 months), arterial oxygen saturation (95.49 +/- 1.93 vs 95.56 +/- 1.97) or pulmonary score (4.04 +/- 1.55 vs 3.97 +/- 1.51) at recruitment and after treatment in the emergency department (arterial oxygen saturation [96.34 +/- 1.60 vs 96.18 +/- 1.77], pulmonary score [1.87 +/- 1.33 vs 1.64 +/- 1.31]). The number of doses administered (2.17 +/- 0.91 vs 2.24 +/- 1.00) and the hospitalization rate (8.56 % vs 6.87 %) were also similar in both groups.

CONCLUSIONS: The distinct bronchodilator doses administered via an MDI with spacer showed similar effectiveness. These findings should contribute to a reevaluation of the use of high doses of bronchodilators, at least in most acute asthma exacerbations in children.

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