Treatment of recurrent acute wheezing episodes in infancy with oral salbutamol and prednisolone

Eur J Pediatr. 1996 Jun;155(6):512-6. doi: 10.1007/BF01955192.


The aim of this study was to investigate the role of oral salbutamol and prednisolone in the treatment of acute episodes of wheezing in infants under 15 months of age. Sixty-two acute episodes of wheezing were studied in 59 babies (age range 3-14 months; mean 7 months), who had all suffered at least one previous wheezy episode. Patients were randomised to receive either salbutamol and prednisolone, salbutamol and placebo or double placebo. Parents were requested to keep a diary card record of twice daily scoring of their baby's symptoms over the next 14 days. A significantly greater number of treatment failures occurred in the placebo group compared to babies treated with oral salbutamol (relative risk 2.51; 95% confidence intervals for relative risk 1.09-5.79). There was no difference in the number of treatment failures between babies treated with a combination of salbutamol and placebo and those treated with salbutamol and prednisolone (relative risk 0.71; 95% confidence intervals for relative risk 0.18-2.80).

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that oral salbutamol is beneficial in the treatment of acute episodes of wheezing in infancy. A combination of oral salbutamol and oral prednisolone appeared to have no additional benefit over treatment with oral salbutamol alone.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / adverse effects
  • Albuterol / administration & dosage*
  • Albuterol / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage*
  • Prednisolone / adverse effects
  • Respiratory Sounds / drug effects*


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Prednisolone
  • Albuterol