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Efficacy of Macrolides on Acute Asthma or Wheezing Exacerbations in Children with Recurrent Wheezing: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Abstract

Introduction

The role of macrolides for treatment of children with acute asthma or wheezing exacerbations is unclear.

Objective

The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the effectiveness of macrolides in children with recurrent wheezing presenting with acute asthma or wheezing exacerbation.

Methods

We conducted an electronic search in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, LILACS, CENTRAL, and ClinicalTrials.gov.

Study selection criteria

Randomized controlled trials of macrolides (any macrolide) compared with placebo or standard treatment in children up to 18 years with recurrent wheezing/asthma presenting with an acute exacerbation.

Outcomes

Primary outcomes were need for hospitalization and/or time of acute asthma/wheezing symptoms resolution; secondary outcomes were duration of stay in the emergency department (ED)/clinic, severity of symptoms of the index episode, use of additional systemic corticosteroids or short active β-2 agonists, changes in lung function measures, ED visit/hospitalization during first week after index episode, time to next exacerbation, or adverse effects (AEs).

Results

Only three studies met the inclusion criteria (n = 334 children, 410 treated episodes); two studies included recurrent wheezers and the third included asthmatic children. There was no difference in hospitalization between groups, but children treated with macrolides had a significantly lower time to symptoms resolution than controls, although the magnitude of benefit remains to be quantified due to no normal distribution data presented. There was no difference in time to next episode of exacerbation (HR 0.96; 95% CI 0.71–1.28; I2 = 0%; p = 0.77). In one study, children receiving macrolides had a significant decrease in the severity of symptoms, decrease use of salbutamol, and another study showed improved lung function. No study evaluated antibiotic resistance development.

Conclusions

Limited evidence support that a macrolide trial could be considered in children with acute asthma or recurrent wheezing exacerbation.

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Author information

Correspondence to Jose A. Castro-Rodriguez.

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Funding

Dr. Castro-Rodriguez’s contribution was funded in part by CONICYT PIA/ANILLO (Grant no. 170925013) from the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT).

Financial disclosure

The authors have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

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Pincheira, M.A., Bacharier, L.B. & Castro-Rodriguez, J.A. Efficacy of Macrolides on Acute Asthma or Wheezing Exacerbations in Children with Recurrent Wheezing: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pediatr Drugs (2020) doi:10.1007/s40272-019-00371-5

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