By Cochrane Library, [RxPG] Severe asthma attacks can be life threatening and intravenous magnesium sulphate is known to help, but inhaling nebulised magnesium sulphate can also improve lung function.
Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs where people have periods where their breathing is stable, and other periods where it is restricted. These 'exacerbations' or 'attacks' can be mild or so severe that the person needs hospital treatment.
During most episodes people use inhaled beta-2-agonists, but in more severe cases these alone may not be enough to restore breathing to normal. The Cochrane Review Authors therefore searched the literature to examine the evidence regarding the use of inhaled magnesium sulphate as an additional therapeutic option.
They concluded that there was good evidence that nebulised magnesium sulphate was safe and effective and that it should be considered as an additional therapy along with beta-2-agonists.
"We also found that magnesium sulphate was most useful in situations where the exacerbation was severe," says lead author Maurice Blitz, who works in the Division of General Surgery, at the University of Alberta, Canada
Review Title: Blitz et al: Inhaled magnesium sulphate in the treatment of acute asthma. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005 Issue 3
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