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Comparison of Oral Dexamethasone Doses in Asthma Exacerbation

Information source: Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Asthma; Reactive Airway Disease

Intervention: Dexamethasone (Drug); Dexamethasone (Drug)

Phase: N/A

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Ghazala Sharieff, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Rady Children's Hospital


Hypothesis: A 2-day course of oral dexamethasone is the superior option for the resolution of symptoms and prevention of relapse in the emergency department (ED) management of mild-moderate asthma exacerbations.

Clinical Details

Official title: Comparison of Single Dose Versus Two Doses of Oral Dexamethasone in the Management of Acute Asthma Exacerbations in the Pediatric Emergency Department.

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: The primary outcome measures are the rate of relapse (including admission to hospital after ED discharge, or unscheduled PCP or ED visits, or new oral corticosteroid prescribed) and time (days) to resolution of symptoms.

Secondary outcome: The secondary outcome measures include compliance, patient/parent satisfaction and rate of hospitalization from the ED.

Detailed description: Asthma has become a major public health problem of increasing concern in the US as it is the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood with over 6 million children under the age of 17 affected 7. Low-income populations, minorities, and children living in inner cities experience disproportionately higher morbidity and mortality due to asthma. Children who suffer from asthma often present to the ED or outpatient center for management of their symptoms and exacerbations. Asthma related ED visits in 2004 were estimated at 1. 8 million, with children younger than 17 accounting for almost half with 754,000 visits 7 Recent clinical trials have shown the efficacy of dexamethasone in the ED management of asthma. In Quereshi et al, a randomized study of 533 patients showed that two doses of DEX taken on days 1 and 2 were equally efficacious as 5 days of prednisolone2. However, patients treated with DEX demonstrated improved compliance with less vomiting, fewer missed days of school and fewer missed parental workdays. A more recent study by Altamimi et al compared single dose DEX to 5-day prednisolone1. This double blinded, randomized prospective study of 134 children concluded that single dose DEX is no worse than 5 days of prednisolone as well. dexamethasone in the acute management of asthma exacerbation. However, practices vary as to the use of single dose, two-day dosing and when to administer the second dose. The purpose of this study is to compare various dosing regimes of dexamethasone in its efficacy in the treatment of asthma exacerbations. Given the longer duration of action of DEX (36-72 hours), we hypothesize that 2 doses of DEX given on days 1 & 3 are superior to single dose DEX in improving symptoms and preventing relapse in the ED management of mild to moderate asthma exacerbations. These previous studies show similar efficacy of dexamethasone when compared to the standard 5-day prednisone/prednisolone treatment. . Within the institution, the investigators have incorporated the use of dexamethasone in the management of acute asthma exacerbations. However, practices vary as to the use of a single dose, two-day dosing and the timing of the second dose for those patients receiving two doses of dexamethasone. The purpose of this study was to determine if single dose oral dexamethasone is as effective as a 2 dose course of oral dexamethasone in preventing relapse within 7 days for pediatric asthma patients managed in the ED. Given the long half life of dexamethasone, the investigators hypothesized that 2 doses given on days 1 and 3 are superior to single dose in improving symptoms and preventing relapse in the ED management of mild to moderate asthma exacerbations.


Minimum age: 2 Years. Maximum age: 17 Years. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- children 2-17 years old

- with a history of wheezing (> 1 episode requiring ß-2 agonist therapy) who present to

the ED with mild to moderate asthma exacerbations *mild-moderate exacerbations are defined as a RSS < 11

- patients whose symptoms do not resolve after the first albuterol/atrovent treatment

(given in the ED, or at home or via EMS within 1 hour prior to arrival to the ED) are eligible for enrollment Exclusion Criteria:

- age < 2 years due to overlap with bronchiolitis

- use of steroids within 3 weeks

- recent exposure to TB, varicella, or herpes

- active varicella/herpes infections

- concomitant stridor, vomited 2 doses in ED

- severe asthma as defined by RSS > 12

- requirement for or pre-existing IV access

- need for immediate airway protection

- history of intubations for asthma or comorbidities (Chronic Lung Disease (CLD),

Congenital Heart Defects (CHD), or neurologic disorders)

Locations and Contacts

Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, California 92123, United States
Additional Information

Starting date: August 2008
Last updated: July 17, 2009

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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