Giving patients corticosteroids after they have been discharged from the hospital for an asthma attack reduces the chances of a relapse. Giving the steroids also reduces their use of inhalers. The benefit lasts for about three weeks.
This updated finding was drawn after reviewing data in six trials that together involved 374 people. Between 12% and 16% of people who are discharged from hospital after having an asthma attack have a relapse within two weeks.
“Our research found clear evidence that people who arrived at a hospital with acute asthma and were well enough to be discharged benefited from the addition of corticosteroid therapy," says lead author Brian Rowe, PhD, who works at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada.
The review, however, was not able to identify enough data to show whether there was any difference between oral or intramuscular routes of administration.