The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommended dosing for systemic prednisone, prednisolone, or methylprednisolone in pediatric patients whose asthma is uncontrolled by inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting bronchodilators is 1–2 mg/kg/day in single or divided doses. It is further recommended that short course, or "burst" therapy, be continued until the patient achieves a peak expiratory flow rate of 80% of his or her personal best or until symptoms resolve. This usually requires 3 to 10 days of treatment, although it can take longer. There is no evidence that tapering the dose after improvement will prevent a relapse.
During conventional pharmacologic dose corticosteroid therapy, ACTH production is inhibited with subsequent suppression of cortisol production by the adrenal cortex. Recovery time for normal HPA activity is variable depending upon the dose and duration of treatment. During this time the patient is vulnerable to any stressful situation. Although it has been shown that there is considerably less adrenal suppression following a single morning dose of prednisolone (10 mg) as opposed to a quarter of that dose administered every six hours, there is evidence that some suppressive effect on adrenal activity may be carried over into the following day when pharmacologic doses are used. Further, it has been shown that a single dose of certain corticosteroids will produce adrenal cortical suppression for two or more days. Other corticoids, including methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone, prednisone, and prednisolone, are considered to be short acting (producing adrenal cortical suppression for 1¼ to 1½ days following a single dose) and thus are recommended for alternate day therapy.
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The clinical pathways are based upon publicly available medical evidence and/or a consensus of medical practitioners at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (“CHOP”) and are current at the time of publication. These clinical pathways are intended to be a guide for practitioners and may need to be adapted for each specific patient based on the practitioner’s professional judgment, consideration of any unique circumstances, the needs of each patient and their family, and/or the availability of various resources at the health care institution where the patient is located.
Accordingly, these clinical pathways are not intended to constitute medical advice or treatment, or to create a doctor-patient relationship between/among The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (“CHOP”), its physicians and the individual patients in question. CHOP does not represent or warrant that the clinical pathways are in every respect accurate or complete, or that one or more of them apply to a particular patient or medical condition. CHOP is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the clinical pathways, or for any outcomes a patient might experience where a clinician consulted one or more such pathways in connection with providing care for that patient.