Pharmacological management of acute bronchiolitis

Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008 Oct;4(5):895-903. doi: 10.2147/tcrm.s1556.


This article reviews the current knowledge base related to the pharmacological treatments for acute bronchiolitis. Bronchiolitis is a common lower respiratory illness affecting infants worldwide. The mainstays of therapy include airway support, supplemental oxygen, and support of fluids and nutrition. Frequently tried pharmacological interventions, such as ribavirin, nebulized bronchodilators, and systemic corticosteroids, have not been proven to benefit patients with bronchiolitis. Antibiotics do not improve the clinical course of patients with bronchiolitis, and should be used only in those patients with proven concurrent bacterial infection. Exogenous surfactant and heliox therapy also cannot be recommended for routine use, but surfactant replacement holds promise and should be further studied.

Keywords: bronchiolitis; interventions; pharmacological; respiratory syncytial virus; therapy.