DRUG NEWS: A shot in the arm prevents relapse

November 2004 
Volume 34  Number 11
Pages 30 - 31
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    According to a new study, a single steroid injection during an ED visit for an acute asthma attack is just as effective as an 8-day course of oral steroids for preventing relapse. Researchers assessed relapse rates of 180 adults (ages 18 to 45) who visited an ED for treatment of asthma exacerbation. (Relapse was defined as the need to seek unscheduled care for persistent or worsening asthma symptoms within 10 days of ED discharge.) Patients were randomly selected to receive either a single 160-mg injection of long-acting methylprednisolone or the same dose in oral form, tapered over 8 days. Before leaving the ED, patients who received the injected drug received an 8-day course of placebo pills, and those who received oral medication received a placebo injection.

    At 10 days after discharge, the relapse rate was 14% in the group who received an injection and just under 14% in the group who took oral medication. Adverse reactions were ...

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