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Doubling of inhaled steroid dose during asthma exacerbation

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

  • over a 6 month period a cohort of patients were evaluated prospectively and randomised in a double blind controlled trial to treatment with either a continued maintenance dose (MD) of inhaled corticosteroid or doubling the dose (DD) at the time of an exacerbation.
  • this study involved 290 patients and 98 (DD, n = 46) experienced evaluable asthma exacerbations during the study period
  • study results revealed that in the DD group 41% of patients were considered treatment failures because they either required systemic steroids This did not differ from the MD group in which 40% were treatment failures
  • the study authors concluded that, in patients who regularly take an inhaled corticosteroid, doubling the maintenance dose may not affect the pattern of the exacerbation


  1. Fitzgerald JM et al (2004). Doubling the dose of budesonide versus maintenance treatment in asthma exacerbations. Thorax;59:550-6.

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