Two treatment regimens for the initial treatment of acute asthma in 50 patients between the ages of 12 and 20 years seen in the emergency room were evalvated. The treatments were randomized such that 26 patients received 2.5 mg of the β2-agonist fenoterol by nebulizer and 24 patients received 0.3 mg of epinephrine followed by 0.75 mg of Sus-Phrine. Clinical assessment and spirometry were performed over a two-hour period. Both groups responded within ten minutes and peak improvement was reached within one hour. Peak expiratory flow and clinical score were better following fenoterol treatment in the first hour (P < .05). The one-second forced expiratory volume and the forced expiratory flow in the middle half of the vital capacity were greater at 20 minutes with fenoterol (P < .05). Those with more severe obstruction (forced expiratory volume < 30%) receiving aerosol therapy also had significantly greater improvement in the first 20 minutes compared with those who received injections. Four patients failed to respond to epinephrine whereas all patients showed improvement with fenoterol (P < .05). These results demonstrated that an inhaled β2-agonist is effective in the initial treatment of acute asthma in children, regardless of severity, and avoids the need for injections.
- Received May 11, 1981.
- Accepted October 2, 1981.
- Copyright © 1982 by the American Academy of Pediatrics