Objective: To evaluate pediatric studies of the effect on asthma symptoms of treatment with proton pump inhibitors (PPI) used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Methods: We entered the MeSH terms "gastroesophageal reflux AND asthma AND children" in the PubMed tool Clinical Queries, selecting "therapy" and "broad, sensitive search." The search ended on April 14, 2008. We included only clinical trials performed in pediatric patients.
Results: Four studies were considered to be relevant, although only 1 was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The 3 nonrandomized trials showed that PPIs benefited patients with asthma. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that omeprazole did not improve asthma symptoms. An improved (although not statistically significant) score was observed in the quality of life questionnaire in children with a reflux index greater than 10% and in those with more severe asthma treated with omeprazole compared with the placebo group.
Conclusions: Scant data in these studies mean that we cannot make solid recommendations. However, in specific cases, we think that treatment of asthma symptoms with a PPI is valid as long as at least 2 conditions are satisfied: asthma must not respond to standard treatment, and 1 instrumental parameter of GERD severity must be satisfied, that is, a reflux index greater than or equal to 10 must be present.