Intravenous magnesium sulfate helps with asthma exacerbations! I was the attending physician on the hospital service recently and had many children with respiratory distress present to the emergency room. Many of them had RSV or influenza infections resulting in respiratory distress, but two of them had asthma exacerbations. A literature review ensued for the most up to date treatment of asthma exacerbations and magnesium sulfate is a new addition to our pharmacotherapy.
It has been found that in an acute asthma exacerbation that has not responded to our first-line therapy (consisting of bronchodilators and steroids) often benefit from a dose of magnesium sulfate intravenous. I fact hospital admission decreased by 68% patients 18 months to 18 years of age who were given magnesium sulfate. Of note, the magnesium sulfate was only given if the bronchodilators and steroids were ineffective. The studies showed no harm caused by magnesium sulfate. It was a weight-based dose that was given once in the patient’s vein.
I love having one more medication in our arsenal to help asthmatics.
I hope this helps.