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Use of Newer Asthma Agents During Pregnancy

KEY POINT

In women who need chronic therapy for asthma during pregnancy, an expert panel is recommending the following medications for the disease’s four severity levels:

• Mild intermittent: Inhaled beta-2 agonists as needed (these can be used as needed by women at other severity levels of asthma)

• Mild persistent: Inhaled cromolyn (Intal—Aventis) if effective before pregnancy; otherwise, inhaled corticosteroids

• Moderate persistent: Inhaled corticosteroids; continue inhaled cromolyn if effective before pregnancy; add oral theophylline and/or inhaled salmeterol (Serevent—Glaxo Wellcome) if medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids are not effective

• Severe persistent: Above plus oral corticosteroids (burst for active symptoms, alternate-day or daily if necessary)

SOURCES

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The use of newer asthma and allergy medications during pregnancy [position statement]. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2000;84:475–80..