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Background Asthma attacks are a common and important problem. Someone experiences an asthma attack in the United Kingdom every 10 seconds. Asthma attacks cause coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, and chest tightness and are highly stressful for patients. They result in reduced quality of life, with days lost from work or school. Asthma attacks are treated with oral corticosteroids (OCSs), but these have many short- and long-term side effects. Asthma monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have revolutionized the treatment of severe asthma by reducing asthma attacks and OCS burden by over 50%, but some people still experience attacks while on mAbs. The MEX study showed that residual asthma attacks are broadly eosinophilic (high fractional exhaled nitric oxide [FeNO]) or noneosinophilic (low FeNO), but it did not measure response to OCS treatment. There is an evidence gap in understanding the clinical and inflammatory responses that occur when using OCSs to treat residual asthma attacks in patients taking asthma mAbs. Objective The primary objective is to compare the clinical recovery between high-FeNO and low-FeNO attacks after acute treatment with oral prednisolone among people established on long-term asthma mAb treatment. The exploratory objective is to compare the inflammatory response to acute treatment with oral prednisolone between high-FeNO and low-FeNO attacks. Methods BOOST (Breakthrough Asthma Attacks Treated With Oral Steroids) is a single-center, prospective observational study of 60 adults established on long-term asthma mAb treatment who receive acute treatment with oral prednisolone (usual care) for an asthma attack. The primary outcome will be the proportion of treatment failure (the need to start oral prednisolone or antibiotics or an unscheduled health care visit for asthma, following an attack) at day 28. The secondary outcomes will be the change in forced expiratory volume in 1 second and the change in visual analogue scale symptom score between the stable state, attack, day 7, and day 28 visits. The exploratory outcomes include the changes in sputum, nasal, and blood inflammometry between the stable state, attack, day 7, and day 28 visits. Results The last asthma attack visit is anticipated to occur in December 2023. Data analysis and publication will take place in 2024. Conclusions We will test the hypothesis that there is a difference in the rate of recovery of clinical and inflammatory measures between high-FeNO and low-FeNO asthma attacks that occur in patients on mAb therapy. The study data will help power a future randomized placebo-controlled trial of prednisolone treatment for nonsevere attacks in patients treated with asthma mAbs and will provide important information on whether corticosteroid treatment should be FeNO-directed. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID) DERR1-10.2196/46741

Original publication




Journal article


JMIR Research Protocols


JMIR Publications Inc.

Publication Date





e46741 - e46741