The effects of combined intravenous and inhaled steroids (beclomethasone dipropionate) for the emergency treatment of acute asthma. The Asthma ED Study Group

Acad Emerg Med. 1997 Feb;4(2):100-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.1997.tb03714.x.


Objective: To compare the efficacy of high-dose inhaled steroids in conjunction with IV steroids with that of IV steroids alone in the emergency treatment for acute asthma.

Methods: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial was conducted on 60 ED patients presenting with acute asthma. All patients received nebulized salbutamol, and IV methylprednisolone, 80 mg at baseline and 40 mg at 6 hours. In addition to the above therapy, the experimental group received beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) 7 mg over 8 hours via a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) attached to a holding chamber, while the control group received a placebo administered in the same fashion. Patients were treated on the protocol for 12 hours with the primary outcome measure being the change in % predicted FEV1.

Results: Of 60 patients, 30 were randomized to BDP (age: 42 +/- 16 years; FEV1: 0.97 +/- 0.42 L) and 30 were randomized to placebo (age: 37 +/- 18 years; FEV1: 0.98 +/- 0.35 L). Spirometry and dyspnea measured by the Borg Scale improved significantly in both groups compared with baseline (p < 0.001). Changes in spirometry measures, dyspnea, and vital signs did not differ between treatment groups over the 12 hours of study (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: Inhaled BDP added to the standard regimen of IV methylprednisolone, and beta-agonist did not further improve flow rates or dyspnea scores measured for up to 12 hours after presentation to the ED.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Beclomethasone / administration & dosage*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Function Tests


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Beclomethasone
  • Methylprednisolone