Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is one of the most common long-term complications and treatment challenges in preterm infants. Theoretically, inhaled corticosteroids may suppress pulmonary inflammation without causing systemic side-effects, while bronchodilators will improve airway resistance and thereby work of breathing.
This article reviews current data on these drugs in BPD prevention or treatment. Trials published to date have not demonstrated that regular bronchodilator administration influences the incidence of BPD or improves long-term outcome. Inhaled steroids started before 2 weeks of age may improve rates of successful extubation and reduce the need for rescue systemic glucocorticoids, but have not been shown to reduce the incidence of BPD. Thus, their use cannot be generally recommended. The data currently available are not sufficient to give any clearer recommendation on the use of these drugs in infants at high risk of, or established, BPD.