Acute bronchiolitis is a viral disease that occurs sporadically in infants and children, twice as often in males as in females. Its incidence is often highest when other viral infections are prevalent in the community, but it is no more prevalent among allergic patients or those with a history of allergy than among other patients.
Corticosteroids have been used in the treatment of bronchiolitis to reduce its severity by reducing inflammation in the lungs. However, conclusions drawn from reports of controlled studies of the disease differ on the therapeutic results obtained with corticosteroids. Because the disease is not as common as other viral infections of the respiratory tract, previous studies were limited to the treatment of relatively few patients with small doses of corticosteroids.
To evaluate efficacy and safety of corticosteroids in bronchiolitis, Leer et al undertook a double-blind, collaborative study of 297 infants and children at five medical centers across the country, as reported