Long-term follow-up of patients with a history of near fatal episodes; can inhaled corticosteroids reduce the risk of death from asthma?

Intern Med. 1995 Feb;34(2):77-80. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.34.77.


We retrospectively studied the use of inhaled corticosteroids in patients who experienced near fatal episodes (NFE) to determine whether such therapy reduces the risk of death. Forty-eight patients who had near fatal episodes of asthma between January 1981 and December 1989 were divided into two groups. Group A comprised 19 patients who received beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) daily (mean dose of BDP:687 micrograms/day: 200-2,000) following NFE, and Group B, 28 patients who did not take BDP or who took less than 6 mg BDP/month. During the follow-up period (Group A:82.9 months, Group B:66.2 months), no patients in Group A died, but eight deaths occurred in Group B (mean period between near fatal episode and death was 31.5 months: 12-66). These results suggest that the regular use of inhaled corticosteroids, even at low doses, may reduce the risk of death in patients who experience NFE.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / mortality*
  • Beclomethasone / administration & dosage
  • Beclomethasone / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Beclomethasone