A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found, “…steroids are not effective for the treatment of acute chest infections in adults without asthma or COPD who do not require immediate antibiotic treatment”. The trial, which involved nearly 400 patients, showed no difference in duration of cough or severity of symptoms in patients who presented with acute lower respiratory infections, who had no evidence of pneumonia or history of COPD, when treated with steroid medication.

This study is significant as it spotlights the importance of correctly diagnosing and treating asthma. At San Tan Allergy & Asthma, the providers use a test called FeNO (fractional exhaled nitric oxide) which is a tool that can help us better identify patients presenting with asthma’s underlying symptoms, which can be related to the condition, but that are not specific to asthma (such as cough, wheeze or shortness of breath).

Some data has shown that 1/3 of patients who has historically been diagnosed as having asthma when objectively assessed, does not in fact have asthma, and that 70% of misclassified patients are put on therapy.

“Patients who have lower respiratory tract infections (and no history of asthma of COPD) do not respond to steroids, which can actually do more harm than good. We know that FeNO is a tool that can be used to determine which patients will or will not respond to steroids, and it is a huge advantage for us in the push for “precision” vs. “intuitive” medicine” says Dr. Neal Jain.

Click here to read the full article, ‘Steroids Don’t Help Chest Infections in Non-Asthmatic Adults’