New Asthma Research Study at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Pitt to Focus on Wheezing Toddlers and Children

June 15, 2011

A clinical trial at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC will focus on new treatments for wheezing in young children who may have asthma.

Preschool-aged children often have coughing and/or wheezing that leads to visits to doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, emergency departments or even hospitalization. Researchers at Children’s Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh are studying ways to prevent coughing and wheezing in preschool-aged children and to alleviate symptoms when they do occur.

The study, referred to as APRIL OCELOT, will begin with an initial treatment aimed at preventing wheezing illnesses in children, followed by additional treatment if wheezing does occur. The follow-up treatment will focus on attempting to reduce the wheezing and other respiratory symptoms.

The study is being conducted through Asthmanet, a multicenter network of researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study pediatric and adult asthma treatments. Researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of the antibiotic azithromycin at the early signs of a cold in preventing the development of significant breathing symptoms such as frequent coughing, trouble breathing, or wheezing. The study hopes to show that azithromycin will help to prevent an upper respiratory illness (or cold), from developing into a more severe wheezing illness.

“Frequent wheezing and coughing is something we encounter so often in young children and it is one of the most common causes for visits to the emergency department. Ultimately, we want to find the best treatment plans to decrease it,” said Fernando Holguin, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the Pediatric Environmental Medicine Center at Children’s Hospital and principal investigator of the study at Pitt. “We believe this study will give us more insight into these particular asthma cases and in turn help give parents the answers they need in this type of care for their children.”

For more information about this study, please call the Asthma Center at 412-692-LUNG (5864).

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919,
Andrea Kunicky, 412-692-6254,