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Role of regular treatment with inhaled corticosteroid or leukotriene receptor antagonist in mild intermittent asthma

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Current guidelines for asthma treatment do not recommend daily maintenance therapy in patients with mild intermittent (step 1) asthma. However, because there is increasing evidence that airway inflammation is present even in this patient group, maintenance anti-inflammatory therapy may be considered. We investigated the clinical impact of regular treatment with the inhaled corticosteroid beclomethasone dipropionate and the leukotriene receptor antagonist pranlukast in the patients concerned. The study was a randomized, controlled, parallel-group, multicenter trial. Eighty-five symptomatic patients with newly diagnosed mild intermittent asthma having normal pulmonary function were assigned beclomethasone or pranlukast for 8 weeks. Then, these medications were stopped for the next 16 weeks. Main outcome measures were asthma symptoms, pulmonary function, and airway inflammation. Treatment with beclomethasone and pranlukast significantly increased forced expiratory volume in 1 second and peak expiratory flow from baseline and decreased asthma symptom scores and sputum eosinophil counts and eosinophil cationic protein contents. After discontinuation of the treatment, symptom scores remained unchanged, but pulmonary function and airway inflammation were aggravated and then returned to the baseline levels. Therefore, maintenance therapy with inhaled corticosteroid or leukotriene receptor antagonist can provide further improvements in asthma symptoms, pulmonary function, and airway inflammation, and discontinuation of the therapy causes worsening of asthma, indicating that stopping or interrupting anti-inflammatory therapy may not be advisable in patients with symptomatic mild intermittent asthma.
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Keywords: Asthma control; discontinuation; inhaled corticosteroid; leukotriene receptor antagonist; maintenance therapy; pranlukast; pulmonary function

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: First Department of Medicine, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, Japan; Hamacho Center Clinic, Tokyo, Japan 2: First Department of Medicine, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, Japan 3: Hamacho Center Clinic, Tokyo, Japan 4: Department of Respiratory Medicine, Hanzomon Hospital, Tokyo, Japan 5: Department of Medicine, Kureha General Hospital, Iwaki, Japan 6: Kawatani Allergy Clinic, Yamaguchi, Japan

Publication date: 2008-03-01

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  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

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    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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