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Review: small treatment effect of disodium cromoglycate in childhood asthma is tempered by methodological flaws and publication bias

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 QUESTION: In children with asthma, how effective is inhaled disodium cromoglycate (DSCG)?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and the database of the manufacturers of DSCG with the terms asthma, sodium cromoglycate, and clinical trial. Bibliographies of relevant studies were reviewed.

Study selection

English language studies were selected if they were randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trials of inhaled DSCG in the maintenance treatment of asthma in children up to 18 years of age. Studies of exercise induced asthma were excluded.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on methodological quality, setting, design, DSCG dose and method of administration, patient characteristics, duration of intervention, outcomes, and adverse effects. Symptom scores were calculated separately for wheeze and cough. Pooled estimates …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr J C van der Wouden, Department of General Practice, FF325, Erasmus University and University Hospital/Sophia Children's Hospital, 3000 DR Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Fax +31 10 408 9491.