Leukotriene receptor antagonists in addition to usual care for acute asthma in adults and children.

Link to article at PubMed

Leukotriene receptor antagonists in addition to usual care for acute asthma in adults and children.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;5:CD006100

Authors: Watts K, Chavasse RJ

BACKGROUND: Acute asthma presentation in the emergency setting frequently leads to hospital admission. Currently available treatment options include corticosteroid therapy, beta(2)-agonists and oxygen. Antileukotriene agents are beneficial in chronic asthma as additional therapy to inhaled steroids. Their value when used orally or intravenously in the acute setting requires evaluation.
OBJECTIVES: To determine if the addition of a leukotriene receptor antagonist (LTRA) produces a beneficial effect in children and adults with acute asthma who are currently receiving inhaled bronchodilators and systemic corticosteroids.
SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Airways Group's Specialised Register of trials with predefined terms. Searches are current to February 2012.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised trials comparing antileukotrienes and standard acute asthma care versus placebo and standard care in people with acute asthma of any age. We considered any dose and method of delivery of the leukotriene agent.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently assessed studies for inclusion in the review and extracted data. We then checked data and resolved disagreements by discussion. We contacted study authors where necessary to provide additional information and data.
MAIN RESULTS: Eight trials, generating 10 treatment-control comparisons, that recruited 1470 adults and 470 children met the entry criteria. These studies were of mixed quality, and there was heterogeneity in the severity of asthma exacerbation.For oral treatment, there was no significant difference in hospital admission between LTRAs and control in three trials on 194 children (risk ratio (RR) 0.86; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.21 to 3.52). Using a broader composite outcome which measured requirement for additional care there was no significant difference between treatments (RR 0.87; 95% CI 0.60 to 1.28). Results demonstrated some indication of improvement in lung function with a significant difference in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1)) favouring LTRAs in two trials on 641 adults (mean difference (MD) 0.08; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.14). There were insufficient data to assess this outcome in children. The most common adverse event described was headache; however, there was no significant difference between LTRAs and control (RR 0.81; 95% CI 0.22 to 2.99). Due to insufficient numbers, we were unable to conduct a subgroup analysis based on age.The combined results of two trials of intravenous treatment in 772 adults and one trial in 276 children demonstrated a reduction in the risk of hospital admission which was not quite statistically significant (RR 0.78; 95% CI 0.61 to 1.01). There was a statistically significant small difference in FEV(1) in the adult studies (MD 0.12; 95% CI 0.06 to 0.17), but not in the single trial in children (MD 0.01; 95% CI -0.06 to 0.08).
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Presently, the available evidence does not support routine use of oral LTRAs in acute asthma. Further studies are required to assess whether intravenous treatment can reduce the risk of hospital admission, and what the most appropriate dose regimen is. Additional research is also needed into safety and efficacy of additional doses for those on maintenance therapy, and larger paediatric trials are required to allow subgroup analysis. Prolonged studies would be required to establish other health economic outcomes in admitted patients.

PMID: 22592708 [PubMed - in process]

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