A new study shows that taking an acid reflux drug to control asthma in children with no acid reflux symptoms did not help their asthma, and actually increased their risk for other respiratory problems.
The drug, called lansoprazole, is better known by its brand names Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium.
Nearly 75 percent of people with asthma also have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). To help children with poorly controlled asthma, doctors sometimes prescribed lansoprazole because they suspected undetected GERD was interfering with their asthma treatment.
In fact, more than 2.5 million children without GERD symptoms were prescribed this medication. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of lansoprazole to improve asthma.
“These results show that children taking lansoprazole had no improvement in their asthma compared to children taking a placebo, and the group taking lansoprazole reported more upper respiratory tract infections, sore throats and bronchitis,” says Greg Omlor, MD, director, Akron Children’s Division of Pulmonary Medicine.
More than 7 million children under age 18 have asthma in the United States, and this study involved children aged 6-17. It specifically dealt with kids who did not have acid reflux symptoms, so the results do not necessarily apply to children with asthma who have reflux and associated symptoms, or to children under age 6.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the American Lung Association.
Learn more about asthma and other respiratory conditions at akronchildrens.org/respiratory.