The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommended dosing for systemic prednisone, prednisolone, or methylprednisolone in pediatric patients whose asthma is uncontrolled by inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting bronchodilators is 1–2 mg/kg/day in single or divided doses. It is further recommended that short course, or "burst" therapy, be continued until the patient achieves a peak expiratory flow rate of 80% of his or her personal best or until symptoms resolve. This usually requires 3 to 10 days of treatment, although it can take longer. There is no evidence that tapering the dose after improvement will prevent a relapse.
Persons who are on drugs which suppress the immune system are more susceptible to infections than healthy individuals. Chicken pox and measles , for example, can have a more serious or even fatal course in non-immune children or adults on corticosteroids. In such children or adults who have not had these diseases particular care should be taken to avoid exposure. How the dose, route and duration of corticosteroid administration affects the risk of developing a disseminated infection is not known. The contribution of the underlying disease and/or prior corticosteroid treatment to the risk is also not known. If exposed, to chicken pox, prophylaxis with varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) may be indicated. If exposed to measles, prophylaxis with pooled intramuscular immunoglobulin (IG) may be indicated. (See the respective package inserts for complete VZIG and IG prescribing information.) If chicken pox develops, treatment with antiviral agents may be considered. Similarly, corticosteroids should be used with great care in patients with known or suspected Strongyloides (threadworm) infestation. In such patients, corticosteroid-induced immunosuppression may lead to Strongyloides hyperinfection and dissemination with widespread larval migration, often accompanied by severe enterocolitis and potentially fatal gram-negative septicemia .
Noninferiority trials have serious inherent limitations , the main one being that (unlike in a superiority trial), given a finding of noninferiority, it is impossible to distinguish between true equivalence and poor execution or faulty pretrial a priori assumptions regarding expectations of benefit and event rates. In this particular trial, a 15% absolute difference in the primary outcome was arguably too large to use as a noninferiority threshold. That threshold implies acceptance of 1 additional COPD exacerbation for each 7 patients treated. If a superiority trial showed a week's extra steroids prevented 1 COPD exacerbation for 10 or even 20 patients treated (, a 5-10% noninferiority margin), I think many doctors and patients would endorse longer-course prednisone. This trial (as designed) would fail to detect that.