Inhaled Corticosteroids May Reduce Severity, Frequency of Recurrent Croup

Little ill boy coughing while having a virus in bed at home.
Patients who had more than 5 episodes of croup were more likely to benefit from inhaled corticosteroids.

The following article features coverage from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting. Click here to read more of MPR‘s conference coverage.

The use of inhaled corticosteroids may help prevent recurrent croup episodes in children, according to findings presented at the AAO-HNSF 2021 Annual Meeting.

To investigate whether inhaled corticosteroids can reduce the number and severity of recurrent croup episodes (defined as 2 to 3 episodes of acute croup), the study authors conducted a retrospective chart review at a large tertiary care pediatric hospital. Seventy-six pediatric patients (mean age, 5.2 years) were included in the analysis.

Prior to the intervention, 42 patients were reported to have more than 5 croup episodes, while 31 patients had 5 or less. “A Fisher 2-tailed exact test was used to compare the number of croup episodes against the level of improvement,” the authors explained. 

Among the 37 evaluable patients who were treated with inhaled corticosteroids, 89% experienced a reduction in the severity and number of croup episodes. Results also showed that patients who had more than 5 episodes of croup were more likely to benefit from inhaled corticosteroids vs those who experienced fewer episodes (P =.07).

Based on these findings, the authors concluded that “The novel use of inhaled corticosteroids showed promise as a preventive treatment to mitigate the severity and frequency of recurrent croup episodes.”


Sowa LE, Francom C, Prager J, et al. Prophylactic Inhaled corticosteroids for the management of recurrent croup. AAO-HNSF 2021 Annual Meeting; October 3-6, 2021; Los Angeles, CA.