Objective. To compare the benefits and adverse reactions of theophylline and beclomethasone (BDP) in the long-term control of mild to moderate chronic asthma in children.
Design. Multicentered, double-blind, double-placebo, randomized, controlled trial.
Patients. One hundred ninety-five children between the ages of 6 and 16 years with mild to moderate asthma.
Intervention. Treatment with either BDP, 84 µg four times a day, or sustained-release theophylline administered twice daily in doses adjusted for optimum control of symptoms.
Main outcome measures. Daily diary record of symptoms, peak flow rates, supplemental bronchodilator and glucocorticoid treatment, doctor and hospital visits, absence from work and school, and side effects.
Results. Aerosol BDP and sustained-release theophylline were effective primary treatments for mild to moderate chronic asthma. Beclomethasone resulted in comparable symptom control with less bronchodilator use and fewer courses of systemic steroids than did theophylline. Side effects were observed significantly more frequently with theophylline than with BDP. Growth velocity suppression was noted with BDP and was more pronounced in boys. Suppression was not associated with alterations in cortisol measurements either at baseline or following stimulation.
Conclusions. Both theophylline and BDP are effective therapy for mild to moderate asthma. Caution must be used with the administration of BDP in children because of possible growth velocity suppression.
- Received July 27, 1992.
- Accepted January 22, 1993.
- Copyright © 1993 by the American Academy of Pediatrics