American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Centers Finds that Nasal Steroids Do Not Improve Asthma

Washington, D.C. (May 22, 2013)


Rhinitis and sinusitis are common conditions among people with asthma, reported in more than 70 percent of asthmatics.  As a result, many physicians have been treating chronic sinonasal disease in the hope that it would relieve their patients’ symptoms of asthma, however this practice had not been subjected to rigorous scientific study.  According to the American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Centers (ACRC), treating chronic sinonasal disease with nasal steroids does not improve asthma control. 

Initial results of the Study of Asthma and Nasal Steroids (STAN) trial were presented at this week’s American Thoracic Society Annual Conference.  Researchers randomly assigned 388 inadequately controlled asthma patients, 6 years of age or older to treatment with either the nasal steroid, Mometasone, or matching placebo, in addition to their baseline asthma regimen for six months.  The study was further designed to evaluate the effects in children and adults independently.

Results of the STAN study found that in adults with chronic sinus disease and poorly controlled asthma, the use of nasal steroids only improved nasal symptoms but had no effect on asthma control compared to those on placebo.  Among children, a small beneficial effect on lung function was seen in the nasal steroid group but no differences were found between groups for asthma control, quality of life and airway reactivity.  The ACRC will continue to conduct analyses among specific subgroups that may be more prone to sinonasal disease or have worse asthma severity.

“Our results indicate that while chronic sinusitis is an irritating co-morbidity, treatment of the condition will not improve asthma control in either adults or children” said Anne Dixon, MA, BM BCh, co-PI of the ACRC at the University of Vermont and lead investigator of the STAN trial, “By knowing that nasal steroids do not improve asthma control, doctors and patients alike should rethink the use of these medications for the control of asthma.  Talk with your doctor before discontinuing any medication, as each patient’s specific needs will vary.”

Merck provided drug for the study, which was funded by the American Lung Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a component of the National Institutes of Health. 

The ACRC Network is an American Lung Association sponsored research program that conducts large scale clinical trials with the mission of advancing the care and treatment of people with asthma. The network, with a central data coordinating center and 18 clinical centers located across the country, is the largest nonprofit network of its kind. By placing numerous clinical centers nationwide, the ACRC Network is able to enroll large numbers of patients for clinical trials, thus ensuring relevant research findings can be interpreted with the highest level of scientific authority.

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