Efficacy of fluticasone nasal spray for pediatric obstructive sleep apnea

J Pediatr. 2001 Jun;138(6):838-44. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2001.114474.


Objective: We tested the hypothesis that a 6-week course of a nasal glucocorticoid spray would decrease the severity of obstructive sleep apnea in children with adenotonsillar hypertrophy.

Study design: We conducted a randomized, triple-blind, placebocontrolled, parallel-group trial of nasal fluticasone propionate versus placebo in 25 children aged 1 to 10 years with obstructive sleep apnea proven on polysomnography. The primary outcome was the change from baseline in the frequency of mixed and obstructive apneas and hypopneas.

Results: Thirteen children received fluticasone, and 12 received placebo. The mixed/obstructive apnea/hypopnea index decreased from 10.7 +/- 2.6 (SE) to 5.8 +/- 2.2 in the fluticasone group but increased from 10.9 +/- 2.3 to 13.1 +/- 3.6 in the placebo group, P =.04. The mixed/obstructive apnea/hypopnea index decreased in 12 of 13 subjects treated with fluticasone versus 6 of 12 treated with placebo, P =.03. The frequencies of hemoglobin desaturation and respiratory movement/arousals also decreased more in the fluticasone group. Changes from baseline in tonsillar size, adenoidal size, and symptom score were not significantly different between groups.

Conclusion: Nasal fluticasone decreased the frequency of mixed and obstructive apneas and hypopneas, suggesting that topical corticosteroids may be helpful in ameliorating pediatric obstructive sleep apnea.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Androstadienes / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fluticasone
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Androstadienes
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Fluticasone