Heavier Children Need Higher Asthma Medication Doses

Eileen Oldfield, Associate Editor
Published Online: Monday, April 23, 2012
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Children with higher body mass indices need higher medication doses to control asthma attacks, a study finds.

Heavier children with asthma need more medication to control attacks, according to results of a study presented on March 4, 2012, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergies, Asthma, and Immunology in Orlando, Florida.
 
The study, conducted at National Jewish Health in Denver, aimed to determine whether a child’s body mass index (BMI) affects their response to inhaled corticosteroids during an asthma attack.
 
“Both blood and airway cells were cultured in the presence of corticosteroids, a medication used to treat asthma,” Pia Hauk, MD, one of the study’s authors, said in a press release. “Then we studied expression of a specific gene that mediates response to the condition.”
 
The researchers studied 61 children with asthma. Thirty-four of the participants were of normal weight, 13 were overweight, and 14 were obese. Fifty-six of the participants used an inhaled corticosteroid.
 
Their results showed a lower cellular response to the medication as BMI increased. In addition, participants with higher BMIs required higher doses of daily medication.
 
“Chronic inflammation, as seen in obese patients, is thought to interfere with the body’s response to corticosteroids, leading to a higher corticosteroid requirement in patients with asthma,” Dr. Hauk said. “More studies are needed to find out if the response to the medication might improve if obese children with asthma lose weight.”

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