Study objective: To evaluate the effects of nebulized ipratropium bromide on intraocular pressures and pupillary responses in children with asthma.
Design: A double-blind, randomized, crossover study.
Setting: Children's Hospital of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba.
Patients or participants: Age 6 to 17 years with asthma.
Intervention: Nebulized ipratropium bromide added to albuterol sulfate, albuterol alone, or saline solution was given by face mask and nebulizer. Before and 0.5 h after nebulization, intraocular pressures (mm Hg), pupillary size (mm), and pupillary responses were measured. In a subsequent open study, patients who had been admitted to hospital with acute asthma who were treated with nebulized ipratropium bromide were recruited for measurement of intraocular pressures, pupillary size, and pupillary responses.
Measurements and results: Twenty patients completed the double-blind study, and 26 patients completed the open study. There were no changes in intraocular pressures, pupillary size, or pupillary response after any treatment on any study day in either the double-blind or the open studies.
Conclusion: In children with asthma, who have no pre-existing ocular abnormalities, the risk of an adverse reaction to nebulized ipratropium bromide delivered by face mask inadvertently absorbed in the eye is extremely small.