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Nebulized dehydroepiandrosterone-3-sulfate improves asthma control in the moderate-to-severe asthma results of a 6-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

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Inhaled dehydroepiandrosterone-3-sulfate (DHEAS), but not dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), possesses anti-inflammatory activity in in vitro assays and in models of allergen and lipopolysaccharide challenges. We postulated whether an inhaled suspension of DHEAS delivered via nebulizer would improve asthma control in moderate-to-severe asthma patients. We also characterized the safety profile of an inhaled suspension of DHEAS. Patients receiving at least 500 g of fluticasone equivalent plus long-acting beta-agonists (LABA) entered a 5-week run-in where the dose of inhaled corticosteroids was reduced to 200 g of fluticasone plus LABA per day. Patients were randomized to 70 mg of DHEAS or placebo if their Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) score was ≥2.0 and their FEV1 ≥ 50%. When compared with control, a statistically significant improvement in ACQ in 6 weeks of treatment with 70 mg of DHEAS was observed. The median improvement in ACQ was −0.72 and −0.43 for the active and placebo groups, respectively (p = 0.0389); the percentage of patients with at least minimally clinically important difference of −0.50 from baseline was significantly greater in the DHEAS group versus the placebo, (59.4% versus 45.7%; p = 0.0236). Asthma symptom scores, the proportion of symptom-free days and symptom nights, although not statistically significant, had positive trends supporting the improvement in ACQ. Fewer patients were withdrawn from the study for respiratory events on DHEAS compared with placebo. There were few adverse events and no changes in sex hormones despite increases in circulating levels of DHEAS. An inhaled suspension of DHEAS delivered via nebulizer improved asthma control scores in subjects with poorly controlled moderate-to-severe asthma.

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Identifier: 012607000192482

Keywords: Asthma control; dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate; nebulized; nonsteroid therapy; randomized controlled trial; severe asthma; wheezing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Publication date: 2010-11-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    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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