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Study backs stepping down steroids in severe asthma

Halving the dose of inhaled corticosteroids in patients with chronic stable asthma does not compromise asthma control, new research suggests.

The researchers, from the University of Glasgow, compared asthma exacerbation rates, asthma-related GP or hospital visits and quality of life in 259 adult patients with asthma on high-dose inhaled corticosteroids.

Patients were allocated to either remain on their current dose ­ an average of 1,430 micrograms of beclomethasone propionate per day ­ or have it stepped down by 50 per cent. Those in the step-down group received an average of 348 micrograms less steroid per day than the control group.

The study, presented last week at the British Thoracic Society winter meeting, showed that there was 'no

significant difference' in exacerbation rates between the two groups, with 31 per cent in the high-dose group versus 26 per cent in the step-down group.

The study also showed there were 'no significant differences' in the numbers of GP or hospital visits.

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