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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Different oral corticosteroid regimens for acute asthma

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, May 2016
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (96th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (85th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
2 blogs
74 tweeters
13 Facebook pages


55 Dimensions

Readers on

241 Mendeley
Different oral corticosteroid regimens for acute asthma
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, May 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011801.pub2
Pubmed ID

Rebecca Normansell, Kayleigh M Kew, George Mansour


Asthma is a common long-term breathing condition that affects approximately 300 million people worldwide. People with asthma may experience short-term worsening of their asthma symptoms; these episodes are often known as 'exacerbations', 'flare-ups', 'attacks' or 'acute asthma'. Oral steroids, which have a potent anti-inflammatory effect, are recommended for all but the most mild asthma exacerbations; they should be initiated promptly. The most often prescribed oral steroids are prednisolone and dexamethasone, but current guidelines on dosing vary between countries, and often among different guideline producers within the same country. Despite their proven efficacy, use of steroids needs to be balanced against their potential to cause important adverse events. Evidence is somewhat limited regarding optimal dosing of oral steroids for asthma exacerbations to maximise recovery while minimising potential side effects, which is the topic of this review. To assess the efficacy and safety of any dose or duration of oral steroids versus any other dose or duration of oral steroids for adults and children with an asthma exacerbation. We identified trials from the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register (CAGR), ClinicalTrials.gov (www.ClinicalTrials.gov), the World Health Organization (WHO) trials portal (www.who.int/ictrp/en/) and reference lists of all primary studies and review articles. This search was up to date as of April 2016. We included parallel randomised controlled trials (RCTs), irrespective of blinding or duration, that evaluated one dose or duration of oral steroid versus any other dose or duration, for management of asthma exacerbations. We included studies involving both adults and children with asthma of any severity, in which investigators analysed adults and children separately. We allowed any other co-intervention in the management of an asthma exacerbation, provided it was not part of the randomised treatment. We included studies reported as full text, those published as abstract only and unpublished data. Two review authors independently screened the search results for included trials, extracted numerical data and assessed risk of bias; all data were cross-checked for accuracy. We resolved disagreements by discussion with the third review author or with an external advisor.We analysed dichotomous data as odds ratios (ORs) or risk differences (RDs) using study participants as the unit of analysis; we analysed continuous data as mean differences (MDs). We used a random-effects model, and we carried out a fixed-effect analysis if we detected statistical heterogeneity. We rated all outcomes using the GRADE (Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system and presented results in 'Summary of findings' tables. We included 18 studies that randomised a total of 2438 participants - both adults and children - and performed comparisons of interest. Included studies assessed higher versus lower doses of prednisolone (n = 4); longer versus shorter courses of prednisolone (n = 3) or dexamethasone (n = 1); tapered versus non-tapered courses of prednisolone (n = 4); and prednisolone versus dexamethasone (n = 6). Follow-up duration ranged from seven days to six months. The smallest study randomised just 15 participants, and the largest 638 (median 93). The varied interventions and outcomes reported limited the number of meaningful meta-analyses that we could perform.For two of our primary outcomes - hospital admission and serious adverse events - events were too infrequent to permit conclusions about the superiority of one treatment over the other, or their equivalence. Researchers in the included studies reported asthma symptoms in different ways and rarely used validated scales, again limiting our conclusions. Secondary outcome meta-analysis was similarly hampered by heterogeneity among interventions and outcome measures used. Overall, we found no convincing evidence of differences in outcomes between a higher dose or longer course and a lower dose or shorter course of prednisolone or dexamethasone, or between prednisolone and dexamethasone.Included studies were generally of reasonable methodological quality. Review authors assessed most outcomes in the review as having low or very low quality, meaning we are not confident in the effect estimates. The predominant reason for downgrading was imprecision, but indirectness and risk of bias also reduced our confidence in some estimates. Evidence is not strong enough to reveal whether shorter or lower-dose regimens are generally less effective than longer or higher-dose regimens, or indeed that the latter are associated with more adverse events. Any changes recommended for current practice should be supported by data from larger, well-designed trials. Varied study design and outcome measures limited the number of meta-analyses that we could perform. Greater emphasis on palatability and on whether some regimens might be easier to adhere to than others could better inform clinical decisions for individual patients.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 74 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 241 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 2 <1%
Spain 2 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Korea, Republic of 1 <1%
Unknown 234 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 44 18%
Student > Bachelor 36 15%
Researcher 30 12%
Student > Doctoral Student 21 9%
Student > Postgraduate 19 8%
Other 49 20%
Unknown 42 17%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 105 44%
Nursing and Health Professions 28 12%
Psychology 12 5%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 9 4%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 7 3%
Other 24 10%
Unknown 56 23%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 65. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 23 April 2019.
All research outputs
of 17,638,294 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Altmetric has tracked 17,638,294 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 97th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,725 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 25.2. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 271,794 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 190 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 85% of its contemporaries.