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Oral dosing of dexamethasone was as effective as intramuscular dosing for outpatient treatment of children with moderate croup

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QUESTION: Is oral administration of dexamethasone as effective as intramuscular administration for outpatient treatment of children with moderate croup?


Randomised (allocation not concealed), blinded (outcome assessors), controlled trial with follow up at 48–72 hours after the acute care visit.


The emergency department of a children's hospital in Denver, Colorado, USA.


317 children who were 3 months to 12 years of age, had moderate croup (defined as a clinical syndrome of hoarseness and barky cough associated with a presence or history of stridor at rest and/or retractions), and onset of illness for <48 hours. Exclusion criteria were epiglottitis, foreign body aspiration, reactive airway exacerbation, acute bacterial pneumonia, acquired or congenital upper airway anomaly, immunocompromised status, or steroid exposure during the previous …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr K K Rittichier, Emergency Department, Primary Children's Medical Center, 100 N Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84113, USA. Fax +1 801 588 2218.