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Preventing the Onset of Asthma in Children - the ETAC Study

Posted Jun 13 2009 12:26am
Can we prevent people from developing asthma? A number of parents with asthma ask me this question for their children. It's a good question. Here's aPubMed abstractof a study published in 2001 measuring if we can do just that. Children between the ages of 1 and 2 years of age were randomly assigned to either the group that took cetirizine or the other group that took placebo. Both groups took meds for 18 months and then had an additional 18 months of followup. Overall, there was no difference in the numbers that developed asthma in either group. However, if children in the cetirizine group also had evidence for allergies to grass pollen or dust mites or both, then these children were significantly less likely to develop asthma for the 36 months duration of the study.

The implication to me is to consider recommending a daily antihistamine for a select subset of young children: with eczema that has an allergic trigger and a high risk for developing asthma. If an allergic trigger is detected, avoidance measures should be followed.

If you have questions about use of antihistamines to prevent asthma, ask your doctor...
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