The effect of an oral sustained release beta 2 agonist on symptoms, sleep quality, and peak flow rates has been studied in nine patients with nocturnal asthma. Patients received oral terbutaline 7.5 mg twice daily or placebo for seven days in a double blind crossover study and spent the last two nights of each limb in a sleep laboratory. Oral terbutaline improved morning peak flow (259 v 213 l min-1) and decreased nocturnal inhaler usage (1.3 v 1.9) with no alteration in sleep quality as assessed electroencephalographically. The study shows that oral sustained release terbutaline can be useful in the treatment of nocturnal asthma without impairment of sleep quality.
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