Response to corticosteroids in chronic bronchitis

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1978 Dec;62(6):363-7. doi: 10.1016/0091-6749(78)90137-9.


Corticosteroid drugs are often employed in the treatment of patients with chronic bronchitis. Although some patients respond favorably to such therapy, the characteristics of such patients are not known. Twenty-four patients with chronic bronchitis were treated with prednisone 30 mg daily or placebo for one week each in a double-blind crossover study. The following were monitored before and after each treatment period: physical examination, symptoms, peripheral blood eosinophil count, sputum cell exmination, forced vital capacity (FVC), before and after isoproterenol aerosol. Seven of 24 patients had an FEV1 increase greater than 30% of the control value on prednisone but not on placebo. Blood eosinophil count was elevated (greater than or equal to 350/mm(3)) in 7 patients; 2 of these 7 improved on steroid. Sputum cell examination revealed preponderance of eosinophils in 1, and occasional clumps of eosinophils in 8. Seven of these 9 responded to steroid. Sputum but not blood eosinophilia is a good predictor of a favorable response to steroid therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bronchitis / blood
  • Bronchitis / drug therapy*
  • Bronchitis / physiopathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eosinophils
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Isoproterenol / therapeutic use
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use*
  • Sputum / cytology


  • Isoproterenol
  • Prednisone