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A 14-day regimen of high-dose inhaled corticosteroids was more effective than placebo for persistent nocturnal cough

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 QUESTION: In children with isolated nocturnal cough, how effective is a short course of high-dose inhaled corticosteroids?


16-day randomised (allocation concealed*), blinded (clinicians and patients),* placebo-controlled trial.


East London, UK.


50 children who were between 1 and 10 years of age (58% between 1 and 4 y, 60% girls) and had persistent nocturnal cough (coughing at night for >3 wks). Exclusion criteria were upper respiratory tract infection, history of wheeze or fever, or identifiable cause for cough (whooping cough, persistent nasal discharge, or large tonsils). 44 children (88%) had outcomes measured on nights 3 and 4, and 47 (94%) had outcomes measured on nights 15 and 16.


Children were allocated to inhaled corticosteroids (fluticasone propionate) (n=26) or placebo (n=24) delivered by …

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  • Source of funding: Glaxo Wellcome.

  • For correspondence: Dr S A McKenzie, Queen Elizabeth Children's Services, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK.

  • * See glossary.