Inhaled steroid treatment offers no clinically significant benefit in school age children suffering from asthma, according to a study of children who experienced wheezing associated with upper respiratory tract infection. In the study, 104 children between 7 to 9 were randomly assigned to either twice daily beclomethasone dipropionate 200 ug or placebo through a Diskhaler for six months. At the end of the trial period, there were no significant differences in the percentage of days without symptoms or in the frequency or duration of wheezing episode between the two groups.

The study noted that wheezing is often the result of viral infection and thus would not be helped by the use of inhaled steroids. It also noted that there is no clear definition of wheeze associated with viral infections and that this could move doctors to prescribe inappropriately (BMJ, 1997; 315: 858-62).

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