British researchers have found that the use of intravenous salbutamol for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is poorly tolerated and such treatment is unlikely to be beneficial. The researchers added that such treatment could worsen outcomes and recommended against routine use of ß-2 agonist treatment in ventilated patients with this disorder.

The researchers undertook the multicenter, placebo-controlled, parallel-group randomized trial to assess the effects of intravenous salbutamol on mortality in patients with ARDS in light of a previous randomized controlled phase 2 trial that found that such treatment used in patients with ARDS for up to 7 days reduced extravascular lung water and plateau airway pressure.

For the current study, the researchers randomly assigned 324 patients who were intubated and mechanically ventilated (aged ≥16 years) to receive either salbutamol (15µg/kg ideal weight per hour) or placebo within 72 hours of the onset of ARDS for up to 7 days. The researchers found that within 28 days of randomization, the primary outcome was death in the salbutamol group—55, or 34%, of the 161 salbutamol patients died, while 38, or 23%, of the 163 patients in the placebo group died.

Recruitment was stopped after the second interim analysis because of safety concerns.

The [removed]findings[/removed] appear in the latest issue of The Lancet.

Source: The Lancet