Background: Previously, we showed that high-dose early initiated inhaled corticosteroids during respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis partially and transiently prevents subsequent recurrent wheeze. Here, we study treatment effect on lung function at age 6.
Methods: This is a 6-year follow-up report of a randomized placebo-controlled trial, in which 185 infants hospitalized for respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis were treated with early initiated, high-dose inhaled beclomethasone (n = 86) or placebo (n = 99) for 3 months. The primary outcome was forced expiratory volume in 1 second as percentage predicted. Secondary outcomes were bronchial hyperresponsiveness, physician-diagnosed asthma, hay fever and eczema. Possible toxicity was assessed by linear growth measurements.
Results: At age 6, no significant differences were found in mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second percentage predicted between beclomethasone-treated and placebo-treated patients (91.4 vs. 93.4, mean difference 2.05 (95% confidence interval: −1.98 to 6.08). The proportion of bronchial hyperresponsiveness, physician-diagnosed asthma, parent reported hay fever and eczema was comparable between groups. There were no differences in linear growth.
Conclusions: Early initiated prolonged treatment with high-dose inhaled beclomethasone during hospitalization for respiratory syncytial virus infection during infancy did not improve the long-term respiratory outcome, but was safe.