Daily versus intermittent inhaled corticosteroid treatment for mild persistent asthma

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Guidelines recommend the use of daily inhaled corticosteroids as preferred treatment for preschoolers, children, adolescents, and adults with recurrent wheezing and mild persistent asthma. However, intermittent or as-needed inhaled corticosteroids treatment in response to symptoms is an emerging strategy. This review is focused on the analysis (clinical efficacy and safety) of this approach in comparison with the current daily-based therapy.

Recent findings

Recently, some authors favored the use of inhaled corticosteroids based on symptoms. It has been suggested that a symptom-based approach could reduce the amount of drug used, minimize the risk of adverse events, and reduce healthcare costs. In contrast, physicians prescribing intermittent inhaled corticosteroids would give the wrong message to their patients about the chronicity of the disease. Currently, there is a significant body of high-quality clinical studies and systematic reviews that have addressed this important controversy, and whose analysis allows us to extract some important conclusions.

Summary

Present evidence does not support a change in the direction of an intermittent or symptom-based use approach for recurrent wheezing and mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. At this point, there is no convincing basis to alter the current strategy to inhaled corticosteroids dosing, and more studies are needed comparing these two approaches.

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