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Management of Childhood Asthma

Salmon R. Halpern, PhD, MD
JAMA. 1974;229(7):819-820. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230450053029.
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In a society that demands a drug for the cure of every illness, Reay's remarks (p 830) contribute to "overkill." His premise is that childhood asthma can be managed by drugs. Brief remarks are made about dust control and animal exposure while the subject of desensitization is dismissed with the statement "some older children whose clinical history points clearly to one specific allergen and in whom skin tests are confirmatory are helped by desensitization." Such a regimen may do the child and his family a disservice.

Reay prescribes three drugs; (1) an aerosol adrenergic agent such as albuterol (salbutamol), (2) cromolyn sodium, and (3) an aerosol topical steroid. Aminophylline is reserved for intravenous use in hospitalized patients, along with oxygen, steroids, and antibiotics.

Such management of childhood asthma is not representative of the prevailing attitude of pediatric allergists in the United States, who believe that any child who requires this


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