Background: Although previous studies have shown that dexamethasone is useful in croup, the optimal dosage has not been clarified yet. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of dexamethasone 0.15 mg/kg single dose compared with the recommended dose of 0.6 mg/kg for treatment of hospitalized children with moderate to severe croup.
Method: Forty-one children aged 6 months to 5 years admitted from March 2001 to October 2003 at the pediatric ward of Hatyai Hospital with moderate to severe croup were recruited for the study. After random allocation, each child received a single intravenous injection of either dexamethasone 0.6 mg/kg (maximum dose 12 mg) or 0.15 mg/kg (maximum dose 3 mg). All children were given a single dose of epinephrine nebulization at the beginning of the study. The croup scores were measured at 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 h after the dexamethasone injection.
Results: One hour following the injection, the mean croup scores were significantly reduced from baseline values in both groups (p<0.01). There was no difference in the mean croup scores between the two groups at any time. Median times to croup scores equal or less than two in both high- and low-dose groups were 8 and 7.9 h, respectively. No patient required intubation or was removed from the study because of a rising croup score after enrollment. There was no significant adverse reaction from dexamethasone treatment in either group.
Conclusion: Dexamethasone 0.15 and 0.6 mg/kg are equally effective in the treatment of moderate to severe croup.