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Asthma symptoms reduced among children whose schools provided asthma medication

CHICAGO Urban children with asthma who attended schools that provided inhaled corticosteroids (an asthma medication) had improved symptoms and fewer days absent from school than children in a usual care group (inhaled corticosteroids not given through school), according to an article in the May issue of The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

According to the article, national guidelines recommend that children with mild to severe persistent asthma take daily maintenance medications (including inhaled corticosteroids), but undertreatment with these medications and poor adherence is common, especially for young urban children.

Jill S. Halterman, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, N.Y., and colleagues evaluated the impact of school-based provision of inhaled corticosteroids on asthma severity among urban children.

The researchers identified children aged three to seven years with mild to severe persistent asthma at the start of the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 school years in Rochester, N.Y. Of the 242 eligible children, 184 enrolled in the study, and data for 180 children was available.

For the school-based care group (n=89), one dose of inhaled corticosteroid from an inhaler was given by the school nurse each day the child was in school. For days the child was home, the parents were provided with a second, identical inhaler for daily doses. Primary care practitioners and parents of children in the usual care group (n=91) were informed of the child's asthma severity and parents were advised to contact their clinician for asthma care.

Children in the school-based care group missed fewer days of school compared to children in the usual care group (average number of days missed, 6.8 vs. 8.8), and had more symptom-free days during the early winter months (average number of days in a two week period, 9.2 vs. 7.3).

In later analysis, the
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Contact: Travis Anderson
585-273-1757
JAMA and Archives Journals
3-May-2004


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