The rate of ibuprophen-sensitive Asthma in children with mild or moderate Asthma is low, the results of a study indicate. Nonetheless, because asthma is so prevalent in children, ibuprophen-sensitive Asthma is a “public health concern,” the investigators say.
In fact, “more than 100,000 children with Asthma in the US may be at risk for (airway narrowing) following exposure to ibuprophen” (Motrin, Advil), said Dr. Jason S. Debley.
Because thousands of children with Asthma take ibuprophen each year, often during an illness that can exacerbate asthma, the possibility that an asthmatic child may be sensitive to ibuprophen needs to be considered before it is administered, he emphasized.
Debley said: “Although it has been recognized for some time that (drugs like ibuprophen) can trigger…an asthma attack in some people, the prevalence of ibuprophen-sensitive asthma in children had previously not been studied in a rigorous manner.”
Ibuprophen (Generic Motrin) treats pain caused by arthritis, menstrual cramps, and other problems.
Also reduces fever. Belongs to the group of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Motrin is useful in suppressing the inflammation (arthritis) in acute gout.
To estimate how many children with asthma may be sensitive to ibuprophen, Debley and colleagues from Children’s Hospital in Seattle conducted an ibuprophen challenge study in 100 children with mild or moderate persistent Asthma.
At the first visit, children received either a single dose of ibuprophen or inactive “placebo,” the team explains in the Journal of Pediatrics. At the second visit, 2 to 7 days later, the groups switched over to receive the other agent. At each visit, breathing function was measured before, and after administration of the drug or the placebo.
“Four percent of children experienced a drop in lung function of greater than 15 percent, within 2 hours following ibuprophen ingestion,” Debley said. None of these children had exposure to ibuprophen prior to the study and none experienced a decline in lung function after placebo.
The risk of ibuprophen sensitivity may be higher among children with severe Asthma, Debley warned, “as the risk of Aspirin-sensitive Asthma is higher in patients with severe asthma than among patients with mild-moderate asthma.”
Summing up, he said ibuprophen is “probably safe for most children with asthma; however, pediatric healthcare providers, patients and parents of asthmatic children should be aware of this risk.”
SOURCE: Journal of Pediatrics, August 2005.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD