, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 177-181
Date: 20 Aug 2009

Use of inhaled corticosteroids decreases hospital admissions for asthma in young children

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An active use of inhaled corticosteroids for asthma has been associated with less asthma exacerbations and hospital admissions in children aged more than 2 years. The present study aimed to investigate hospital admission rates in young children from two populations in relation to the age-specific use of maintenance medication for asthma.


Annual data on children aged less than 24 months treated for asthma, including data on the use of maintenance medication based on the purchases of prescribed medications, and annual numbers of admissions to hospital and proportions of readmissions, were collected from 1995 to 1999 in two provinces of Finland. The inclusion criteria, three or more doctor-diagnosed wheezing episodes, were individually checked by the authors in each case. The mean number of children aged less than 24 months during the years of the study was 5490 in Kuopio and 9914 in Oulu area.


In the Kuopio area, during the years of the study, 16.5/1000 children aged less than 24 months were on maintenance medication for asthma, and 90% of them were receiving inhaled corticosteroids. In the Oulu area, the respective figures were 13.5/1000 (P<0.001) and 99%. The average admission rate was 7.9/1000 in the Kuopio area and 8.7/1000 in the Oulu area (P<0.05). The readmissions indicated the higher admission rates in the Oulu (40% of all admissions) than in the Kuopio (28%) area (P<0.01).


Active use of maintenance therapy by inhaled corticosteroids was associated with a decreased need of hospital treatment in young children <24 months old with asthma, mainly because of less readmissions.