Home Forums Other Specialities Paediatrics MANAGING WHEEZE IN PRE SCHOOL CHILDREN

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    Managing wheeze in preschool children

    Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g15.Feb4th 2014.

    Summary points

    Preschool wheeze should be divided into “episodic viral” and “multiple trigger” according to the history, and these categories, which can change over time, should be used to guide treatment
    No treatment has been shown to prevent progression of preschool wheeze to school age asthma, so treatment is driven solely by current symptoms

    In all but the most severe cases, episodic symptoms should be treated with episodic treatment

    If trials of prophylactic treatment are contemplated, they should be discontinued at the end of a strictly defined time period because many respiratory symptoms remit spontaneously in preschool children

    Prednisolone is not indicated in preschool children with attacks of wheeze who are well enough to remain at home and in many such children, especially those with episodic viral wheeze, who are admitted to hospital

    Lower respiratory tract illnesses with wheeze are common, occurring in around a third of all preschool children (here defined as aged between 1 and 5 years). They are a major source of morbidity and healthcare costs, including time off work for carers, and are often difficult to treat.

    This review focuses on the two areas in which there have been recent developments.

    The first is the classification of these children by symptom pattern into “episodic viral” and “multiple trigger” wheezers. These phenotypes can change within an individual over time but they are a useful guide to current treatment, and there are also physiological and pathological rationales for their use.

    The second area is the recent series of large randomised controlled trials of treatment, specifically related to the roles of intermittent montelukast and inhaled and oral corticosteroids.
    These trials have shown clearly that inhaled corticosteroids and prednisolone in particular have been misused and overused in the past, mandating a reappraisal of treatment .

    G Mohan.

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