Nitric oxide levels in apatient's breath may be a betterindicator for determiningcorticosteroid dose for childrenwith moderate-to-severe asthma,according to the results ofa study reported in the AmericanJournal of Respiratory andCritical Medicine (October2005). Researchers basedinhaled corticosteroid treatmentfor 39 children with asthma,average age 12 years,mainly on exhaled nitric oxidelevels, while also consideringsymptoms. Inhaled corticosteroidtreatment levels administeredto 46 children ofapproximately the same agewere based totally on symptoms.All of the patients hadatopic asthma.
The 1-year study involvedmeasuring exhaled nitric oxidein the test group 5 times. Airwayhyperresponsiveness andlung function were determinedin both groups at the beginningand end of the study. The findingsindicated that participantsin the nitric oxide group had 8severe exacerbations duringthe study, compared with 18exacerbations in patients treatedbased on symptoms.