Nebulized lidocaine in the treatment of severe asthma in children: a pilot study

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1999 Jan;82(1):29-32. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)62656-7.


Background: Glucocorticoids have been used to treat asthma since the 1950s; however, their adverse systemic effects have limited their duration of use and dosage. Unfortunately, many patients with severe asthma often require oral glucocorticoids in addition to inhaled glucocorticoids. Alternatives to glucocorticoids have been sought with mixed success. Recently, lidocaine has been added to the list of potent glucocorticoid sparing agents for the treatment of severe asthma.

Objective: We report the first group of pediatric patients with severe asthma treated with nebulized lidocaine.

Methods: The study was performed in an open manner with 6 severely asthmatic patients followed in the Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Section, Mayo Clinic. The only intervention was the institution of nebulized lidocaine (0.8 mg/kg/dose to 2.5 mg/kg/dose t.i.d to q.i.d). The average daily steroid requirement was followed during the administration of the nebulized lidocaine.

Results: During a mean of 11.2 months of therapy (range 7 to 16 months) 5 of the 6 patients completely discontinued their oral glucocorticoids within an average time of 3.4 months (range 1 to 7 months).

Conclusions: After further study, lidocaine may prove to be the first non-toxic, steroid alternative to patients with severe steroid-dependent asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenocortical Hyperfunction / drug therapy
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Pilot Projects


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Lidocaine