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New research could help physicians tailor asthma therapy in children

Researchers have identified specific asthma characteristics in children that could help determine the type of asthma treatment they will best respond to. These findings were published in the February 2005 Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI). The JACI is the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).

"Parents of children with asthma often ask: Is there a good way to determine what medication will work best in my child?" said Stanley J. Szefler, MD, FAAAAI. "These findings begin to address this question by taking a step toward enabling clinicians to better individualize asthma therapy."

Dr. Szefler and colleagues from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI's) Childhood Asthma Research and Education (CARE) Network found specific differences in responses to the inhaled corticosteroid, fluticasone, and the leukotriene receptor antagonist, montelukast, in children with mild-to-moderate persistentasthma.

Inhaled corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory medications that go directly into the lungs, reducing inflammation in the airways. Leukotriene receptor antagonists treat asthma differently by blocking substances in the lungs called leukotrienes, which cause narrowing and swelling of the airways. While both medications are considered effective daily treatments for long-term care and prevention of exacerbations in patients of all ages with persistent asthma (those who have symptoms at least two days a week or two nights a month), the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program asthma treatment guidelines list inhaled corticosteroids as the preferred treatment, with leukotriene modifiers one of several alternative therapies.

"There is increasing evidence that children respond differently to the various treatment options for asthma," noted James Kiley, PhD, director of the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases. "If we can pinpoint in advance which children w
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Contact: John Gardner
jgardner@aaaai.org
414-272-6071
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
1-Feb-2005


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