Acute asthma. Single dose oral steroids in paediatric community clinics

Eur J Pediatr. 1994 Jul;153(7):526-30. doi: 10.1007/BF01957010.


The treatment of an acute asthma attack usually includes bronchodilators and often steroids. We studied 70 children who were randomly assigned to receive either single dose steroids (oral prednisone: 20-40 mg) or placebo on a double blind basis. The time course of the observation was 72 h. We demonstrate that a single dose of steroids, given orally in paediatric community clinics during an acute mild to moderate asthma attack, significantly improves the patient's course; deterioration was prevented, symptoms were relieved faster, and hospitalization was not required. We encourage paediatricians in the ambulatory clinics to follow this treatment modality and to give, in addition to other conventional therapy, a single oral dose of steroids early in the asthma attack, in order to relieve and shorten the child's distress.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Centers
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage*
  • Respiration / drug effects
  • Respiratory Sounds / drug effects


  • Prednisone