An overview of recent studies finds that there are no clear benefits to using long-acting beta2-agonists (LABAs) for the treatment of asthma in children. Researchers report that there is currently insufficient evidence to suggest that the drugs offer any additional benefit when used in conjunction with conventional preventative medications.
LABAs, such as salmeterol and formoterol, can reduce the symptoms of asthma for periods of up to 12 hours. They are commonly given to relax the airways overnight or after exercise, and are recommended as add-on therapies to inhaled corticosteroids. But since LABAs have previously been shown to increase the risk of life-threatening adverse effects in adults when used as the only drug, they are not recommended as the main treatment agent in asthma in any age groups.
Now researchers say that their use does not generally provide any further benefit over regular ICS therapy for children. The overview included four previous reviews of trials in children above the age of four. They showed that LABAs did not reduce severity of asthma symptoms as measured by hospital admissions, or the need for steroid medication.
If you want something that really works for asthma, you might want to look into vitamin D. One study has shown that poor diets and the lack of vitamin D among mothers were the two strongest determining factors in whether their children suffered from asthma — more so even than whether or not the mothers smoked.
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