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Utility of adjunctive macrolide therapy in treatment of children with asthma: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors Mikailov A, Kane I, Aronoff S, Luck R, DelVecchio M

Received 29 September 2012

Accepted for publication 6 November 2012

Published 16 January 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 23—29

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JAA.S38652

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4


Anar Mikailov,1 Ilona Kane,2 Stephen C Aronoff,3 Raemma Luck,3,† Michael T DelVecchio3

1Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, 2St Christopher's Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA, 3Department of Pediatrics, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Raemma Luck is now deceased

Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate macrolides as an adjunct to an asthma controller regimen in children with asthma.
Methods: Prospective clinical trials of macrolide therapy in children with asthma using outcome measures of change in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and/or oral corticosteroid requirement were searched for in PubMed up to December 2009. The reference lists of studies were also included in the analysis, as well as those listed in published meta-analyses.
Results: The literature search yielded 116 studies, six of which were included in this meta-analysis. The change in FEV1 from baseline with adjunctive use of macrolide therapy in all children was not significant (0.25% predicted; 95% confidence interval [CI] −0.37, 0.86 predicted, P = 0.43); however, the change in FEV1 among children receiving daily oral corticosteroids was significant (3.89% predicted; 95% CI −0.01, 7.79, P = 0.05). Addition of macrolide therapy to the treatment of children with oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma resulted in a statistically significant decrease in daily corticosteroid dosage (−3.45 mg/day; 95% CI −5.79, −1.09 mg/day, P = 0.004). This reduction in daily corticosteroid dosage was directly proportional to the duration of macrolide therapy (−0.17 mg methylprednisolone per week of macrolide therapy; 95% CI −0.33, −0.021, P = 0.025).
Conclusion: Addition of macrolides to the treatment regimen of children with oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma improves FEV1 and decreases the daily dosage of corticosteroids required for control in these children. The degree of dose reduction is directly related to the duration of macrolide therapy. Additional large, randomized, placebo-controlled trials of adjunctive macrolide use in children with oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma are required to verify this observation.

Keywords: chronic asthma, macrolides, corticosteroid sparing

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