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1. Oral theophylline has a slower onset of action than inhaled beta2 agonists and has limited usefulness for treatment of acute symptoms. It can, however, reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms, especially in nocturnal asthma, and can decrease inhaled corticosteroid requirements.

2. When theophylline is used alone, serum concentrations between 8-12 mcg/mL provide a modest improvement is FEV1. Serum levels of 1520 mcg/mL are only minimally more effective and are associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular adverse events.

F. Oral corticosteroids are the most effective drugs available for acute exacerbations of asthma unresponsive to bronchodilators.

1. Oral corticosteroids decrease symptoms and may prevent an early relapse. Chronic use of oral corticosteroids can cause glucose intolerance, weight gain, increased blood pressure, osteoporosis, cataracts, immunosuppression and decreased growth in children. Alternate-day use of corticosteroids can decrease the incidence of adverse effects, but not of osteoporosis.

2. Prednisone, prednisolone or methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol), 40-60 mg qd; for children, 1-2 mg/kg/day to a maximum of 60 mg/day. Therapy is continued for 3-10 days. The oral steroid dosage does not need to be tapered after short-course "burst" therapy if the patient is receiving inhaled steroid therapy.

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Coping with Asthma

Coping with Asthma

If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.

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