The influence of inhaled corticosteroid discontinuation in children with well-controlled asthma

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Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that requires adherence to both preventative and therapeutic interventions in disease management. Children with asthma are likely to discontinue inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), especially when symptoms are under control. We aimed to investigate the impact of ICS adherence in children whose symptoms were under control.

The study is cohort study; 35 children with controlled asthma that had undergone 3 years of follow-up were included. Serum eosinophil count, serum total IgE (tIgE), and lung function (FEV1, FEV1/FVC, PEF, FEF20–75%, and PC20) were evaluated at the beginning and end of the follow-up.

At baseline, patients in both the adherent and nonadherent groups were similar. After 3 years, the nonadherent group who had discontinued ICS had a decrease in FEV1 (P < .05), FEV1/FVC (P < .05), PEF (P < .05), and FEF20–75% (P < .05). The nonadherent group had no significant improvement in PC20 compared with their values at the beginning of the follow-up, whereas the adherent group had improvement in PC20. Furthermore, there was an increase in serum eosinophil (P < .001) and tIgE (P < .05) in the nonadherent compared with the adherent group.

Despite good asthma control, airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) was detected in a large proportion of children with asthma. ICS discontinuation affected lung function, serum eosinophil count, tIgE, and AHR. Adequate adherence is important in asthma management. The benefits of ICS and the influence of drug discontinuation despite good asthma control may encourage better adherence from patients.

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