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Levalbuterol versuss levalbuterol plus ipratropium in the treatment of severe acute asthma.

Author(s): Cydulka RK, Emerman CL, Muni A

Affiliation(s): Department of Emergency Medicine, MetroHealth Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA. rcydulka@metrohealth.org

Publication date & source: 2010-12, J Asthma., 47(10):1094-100. Epub 2010 Nov 1.

Publication type: Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND: The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) Expert Panel Report 3 guidelines advise the addition of ipratropium bromide to short-acting beta-agonist therapy for the treatment of patients with severe acute asthma exacerbation. METHODS: This was a prospective, double-blind, randomized, controlled study involving 141 adults, presenting to two EDs with acute severe asthma exacerbation. Patients were treated using a standardized pathway with levalbuterol plus ipratropium or levalbuterol alone. Primary outcomes were changes from baseline in the percentage of predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV) at 30 minutes and 60 minutes after completion of treatment. Secondary outcomes included hospitalization and relapse rates. Occurrence of adverse events was recorded. RESULTS: Sixty-seven patients in the levalbuterol plus ipratropium group and 74 patients in the levalbuterol group completed the study. Overall, there was no significant difference in the improvement in percent predicted FEV between the two groups at 30 minutes [difference in change between study groups at 30 minutes: 1% (95% CI: ?3 to 2%) or at 60 minutes: 3% (95% CI: 1-6%)] No difference was noted in hospitalization rates between the treatment groups [combination therapy group, 33%; single therapy group, 47%, difference: -14% (95% CI: -30 to 20%)]. Post-hoc analysis revealed that patients receiving ipratropium in addition to levalbuterol were 1.5 times more likely to experience side effects (palpitations) than patients treated with levalbuterol alone (RR 1.5; 95% CI: 1.2-1.9) No differences in relapse rates were noted between the groups. Post-hoc analysis revealed more side effects in patients receiving levalbuterol plus ipratropium. CONCLUSION: We were unable to demonstrate superiority of adding ipratropium to levalbuterol in alleviating obstruction as measured by FEV or in decreasing the need for hospitalization among adult patients presenting to the ED with acute severe asthma exacerbation.

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