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A Controlled Trial of the Effect of Steroids in Obstructive Airway Disease

W. K. C. MORGAN, M.D., M.R.C.P.E.; and E. RUSCHE, M.D.
Ann Intern Med. 1964;61(2):248-254. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-61-2-248
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Informed opinion is becoming increasingly aware that there are two main types of obstructive airway disease: asthma and the bronchitis emphysema complex (1). Nevertheless, not infrequently in clinical practice little effort is made to differentiate between them. This error of omission is not always realized, and failure to separate these diseases may lead to unnecessary difficulties in their management. While it is generally accepted that steroids are of benefit in asthma (2-4), some doubt exists as to their efficacy in emphysema, and there would seem little justification in exposing emphysematous patients to potentially harmful and ineffective drugs.

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