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Study Compares Kids' Asthma Drugs

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THURSDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Inhaled corticosteroids are more effective than another class of drugs called leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs) in treating persistent asthma in school-age children, a new study concludes.

The 16-week study included 100 children, ages 6 to 17, with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. The children were divided into two groups. One group received an inhaled corticosteroid (fluticasone propionate) twice daily or an LTRA (montelukast) nightly.

Researchers reporting in the January issue of the Journal of Allergy $amp; Clinical Immunology said both the corticosteroid and the LTRA led to significant improvements in many measures of asthma control. However, the corticosteroid offered greater improvements after eight weeks of treatment, they said.

Children taking the corticosteroid experienced more asthma control days in which they had no daytime or nighttime asthma symptoms, compared to youngsters using the other drug. Approximately 29 percent of the children taking the corticosteroid gained at least one more day per week of controlled asthma, compared to just 12 percent on children taking montelukast, the researchers found.

The children taking the corticosteroid also had better pulmonary responses and inflammatory biomarkers.

The study was conducted by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Childhood Asthma Research and Education Network.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about childhood asthma.

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, Jan. 12, 2006
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