One year treatment with salmeterol compared with beclomethasone in children with asthma. The Dutch Paediatric Asthma Study Group

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1997 Sep;156(3 Pt 1):688-95. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.156.3.9611067.


The aim of this study was to compare the effects of salmeterol and beclomethasone on lung function and symptoms in children with mild to moderate asthma. Sixty-seven children not treated with inhaled corticosteroids were randomized in a double-blind parallel study either to salmeterol 50 micrograms b.i.d. or beclomethasone 200 micrograms b.i.d. After one year, FEV1 significantly increased in the beclomethasone group, whereas in the salmeterol group there was a small reduction. Differences between groups were 14.2% predicted (p < 0.0001) and 7.0% predicted (p = 0.007) for pre- and postbronchodilator FEV1 values, respectively. PD20 methacholine decreased by 0.73 DD (p = 0.05) in the salmeterol group and increased by 2.02 DD (p < 0.0001) in the beclomethasone group. Morning and evening PEF and symptom scores improved in both groups, although more in the beclomethasone group. Asthma exacerbations, for which prednisolone was needed, were more frequent in the salmeterol group (17 versus two), as were the number of withdrawals due to exacerbations (six versus one). However, growth was significantly slower in the beclomethasone group (-0.28 SDS) compared with that in the salmeterol group (-0.03 SDS) (p = 0.001). We conclude that treatment with a moderate dose of beclomethasone is superior to salmeterol in children with mild to moderate asthma and recommend that salmeterol should not be used as monotherapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Albuterol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Beclomethasone / therapeutic use*
  • Body Height / drug effects
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Salmeterol Xinafoate
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Vital Capacity / drug effects


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Salmeterol Xinafoate
  • Beclomethasone
  • Albuterol