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Although inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are remarkably effective for improving asthma control and reducing mortality, many patients avoid regular use, often stopping treatment when symptoms improve.1 There is increasing interest in investigating ICS regimens which do not require daily treatment.
The aim of this review was to evaluate parallel group trials comparing daily ICS with ‘intermittent’ ICS in persistent asthma, with ‘intermittent’ defined as ICS initiated ‘at the onset of exacerbations and continued for a short duration’. Studies were identified from the Cochrane Airways Group specialised register of trials, together with hand-searching. The search terms included: intermittent, as-needed, prn (prescribed-as-needed), occasional and short course; these emerged as having highly variable meanings. Eligible patients were adults and children with persistent asthma (undefined) and preschool children at risk of, or with suspected, asthma. Combination ICS/short-acting β2-agonist (SABA) was permitted but not ICS/long-acting …
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