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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


MASEKELA, R et al. Asthma treatment in children: A pragmatic approach. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2018, vol.108, n.8, pp.612-618. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: Asthma is a heterogeneous condition characterised by chronic inflammation and variable expiratory airflow limitation, with airway reversibility. Management of chronic inflammation with anti-asthma medication improves asthma control and quality of life. OBJECTIVES: To provide an evidence-based approach for chronic asthma management in young children and adolescents and provide guidance on the use of new asthma drugs in children. METHODS: The South African Childhood Asthma Working Group (SACAWG) convened in January 2017. The asthma treatment task group reviewed the available scientific literature and international asthma treatment guidelines. The evidence was then graded according to the Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system and recommendations were made based on scientific evidence and local context. Asthma management recommendations were made for children <6 years of age and older children and adolescents, as well as for stepping up and stepping down of therapy. This review does not include biologics or novel asthma drugs, which are covered in another CME article in this edition of SAMJ. CONCLUSIONS: To ensure good response, treatment and adherence, type of medication, device and checking of technique are all critical. Stepping up of therapy should be done only after ensuring good adherence and technique. Once therapeutic response is achieved, medication administration has to be stepped down to improve ease of use and avoid unnecessary side-effects.

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