Researchers from Birmingham, Alabama, USA, determined whether prednisone alters gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) parameters in people with asthma.
It is known that the prevalence of GERD is higher in people with asthma than in control populations.
Predisposing factors for GERD development may include asthma medications such as prednisone.
A total of 20 adults with stable, moderate persistent asthma, with minimal esophageal reflux symptoms (less than 3 times a week), were enrolled in the prospective study. All subjects were not receiving antireflux therapy.
Prednisone 60 mg/d or placebo was administered for 7 days.
Asthma, esophageal reflux symptoms, and spirometry were measured during baseline, placebo, and prednisone phases (each 7 days in duration).
|Percentage of time pH < 4.0 at distal probe:|
In addition, dual-probe esophageal pH monitoring, esophageal and respiratory manometrics (20 subjects), and basal and stimulated gastric acid secretion (4 subjects) were measured after placebo and prednisone phases.
The investigators found that there were significant increases in esophageal acid contact times at the distal and proximal pH probes during the prednisone phase.
Total percentage of time that pH was less than 4.0 at the distal probe was 2.5% for placebo, compared with 5.9% for prednisone.
Total percentage of time that pH was less than 4.0 at the proximal probe was 0.3% for placebo and 0.8% for prednisone.
There were found to be no significant changes in subject weight, spirometry, asthma or esophageal reflux symptoms, manometrics, or basal or stimulated gastric acid secretion.
Dr John P. Lazenby, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, concluded on behalf of his colleagues, "Prednisone, 60 mg/d for 7 days, increased esophageal acid contact times in this small population of people with stable asthma.
"However, the mechanism for this finding is unclear."