This study assessed the efficacy of an outpatient course of prednisone in the treatment of acute asthma, as a method of preventing hospitalization for status asthmaticus. From September-November 1984, 181 courses of prednisone were utilized by children for acute exacerbations of asthma inadequately controlled by bronchodilators and inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate or cromolyn. The dose of prednisone was 1 mg/kg/day for five days with a maximum of 40 mg/day. Only ten children required hospitalization for status asthmaticus. Privately insured patients and non-privately insured patients accounted for 61 and 120 of the prednisone courses, respectively, of which five children from each group required hospitalization. The data suggest that short-term administration of prednisone for exacerbations of asthma was valuable in decreasing the need for hospitalization for asthma among bronchodilator-treated asthmatics. Further, patients from families without private hospitalization insurance appear as amenable to prednisone-intervention as privately insured patients.
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