Is it useful to add an anticholinergic treatment to beta 2-adrenergic medication in acute asthma attack?

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. Jan-Feb 1998;8(1):30-4.


The aim of our study was to determine whether the combination of an anticholinergic treatment with a beta 2-adrenergic medication is a more effective treatment for acute asthma attack than the two treatments individually. The association of salbutamol-ipratropium was compared to treatment with salbutamol and ipratropium alone. It was a prospective double-blind study in children with acute asthma attack, participating as outpatients. Their clinical history and characteristics of bronchial obstruction were recorded on a standard form. Afterwards, they were included in one of the three following study groups: group one, 100 micrograms/inh salbutamol; group two, 20 micrograms/inh ipratropium; group three, 100 micrograms/inh of salbutamol plus 20 micrograms/inh ipratropium. There were 40 patients in each group, with Tal score +/- 5 and PEF < 80% of the predicted value. They were evaluated at the beginning (0 min), and at 15, 30, 45, 60, 80, 100 and 120 min. Each patient was treated with two inhalations of the study medication and was then evaluated for variations in Tal score. The mean age was 7.3 years; Tal score was 5.6, 5.6 and 6.0 at 0 min (p > 0.05). Decrease in Tal score after 15 min meant p < 0.01 for salbutamol-ipratropium and salbutamol vs. ipratropium. At 30 min p < 0.05 for salbutamol-ipratropium vs. salbutamol, and at 45 min p < 0.01 for salbutamol-ipratropium vs. salbutamol. PEF at 0 min was 70.9%, 71.3% and 68.6% (p > 0.05) increasing after 15 min. At 30 min p < 0.05 for salbutamol-ipratropium vs. salbutamol, and p < 0.01 vs. ipratropium. At 45 min p < 0.01 for salbutamol-ipratropium vs. salbutamol and ipratropium. A total 4.7 doses of salbutamol were needed to improve the asthma attack, 5.3 of ipratropium and 3.7 of salbutamol-ipratropium, with p < 0.01 for salbutamol-ipratropium vs. salbutamol and ipratropium. We conclude that the combination of salbutamol and ipratropium is more effective than each medication alone in treating acute asthma attacks in pediatric patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chile
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ipratropium / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Drug Combinations
  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • Ipratropium
  • Albuterol