A new study has revealed that a commonly prescribed asthma medication has not displayed any clear-cut benefits in children.
Long-acting beta2-agonists (LABAs) commonly used for treatment of asthma in children may not prove effective in relieving the symptoms of asthma.
LABAs such as salmeterol and formoterol can reduce the symptoms of asthma for periods of up to 12 hours and are often given to relax the airways overnight or after exercise.
Currently, LABAs are recommended as add-on therapies to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), which are taken on a daily basis to help control symptoms over a longer term.
Child Health Field researchers claim that although giving LABAs to children can improve lung function, their use does not generally provide any further benefit over regular ICS therapy.
"We found no evidence to suggest that LABA should be used alone or in combination with ICS in the majority of young asthma sufferers," said Amy Plint, who led the study at the University of Ottawa in Canada.
"ICS should remain the therapy of choice," she added.
The researchers said more long-term trials are needed to establish the effectiveness of LABAs in children.
However, they believe that the drugs may improve lung function in the most severe cases.
"We should not rule out combination therapy as a treatment option in children with poorly controlled asthma despite compliance with moderate dose ICS agents," said Plint.
The study appears in journal Evidence-Based Child Health.