Use of inhaled corticosteroids in patients with mild asthma.
A double blind, parallel group study was carried out to investigate the effect of inhaled budesonide in a moderate (200 micrograms) and a low (100 micrograms) twice daily dosage compared with the effect of placebo in 103 adults with mild symptomatic asthma. Subjects recorded peak expiratory flow (PEF), asthma symptoms, and beta 2 agonist consumption at home for a period of seven weeks (a one week run in and six weeks' treatment). Morning baseline PEF (around 80% of predicted normal) increased non-significantly to 88% with 200 micrograms budesonide daily and to 90% (p less than 0.05) with 400 micrograms, compared with 81% with placebo. Evening PEF (around 94% of predicted normal) did not change significantly with active or placebo treatment. By comparison with placebo, there was a significant decrease in nocturnal asthma symptoms and beta 2 agonist consumption. The changes during the day were less pronounced and significant only for 400 micrograms budesonide daily. No significant differences between the two active treatments were detected. It is concluded that low doses of inhaled budesonide are effective in patients with mild symptomatic asthma, particularly for night time symptoms and early morning lung function. The early introduction of inhaled corticosteroids for patients with mild asthma and night time symptoms may improve their quality of life during the night and early morning.