1 TUM Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Munich
There are many studies regarding the question whether magnesium is effective in asthma bronchiale. In case of an acute asthma attack, application of nebulized magnesium altogether did not exert a significant positive effect. However, in severe cases, a favorable effect was sometimes observed. Yet, administration of magnesium by the intravenous route led to an improvement of the disease and therefore to reduced admissions to the hospital. Taken together, preferentially parenterally administered magnesium plays some role as second line therapeutic in the treatment of acute asthma attacks. Even more interesting is the question whether magnesium plays a role in the chronic time course of the disease. In a study with children resulted under the influence of oral administered magnesium a reduction of bronchial hyperactivity, asthmatic exacerbations and consumption of salbutamol. Also in a study with adults, a significant positive effect on bronchial hyperactivity and the peak expiration flow was observed. Additionally, an improvement of the subjective quality of life resulted. However, other studies revealed only small or missing effects regarding the lung function of asthmatic patients. The results show that, beside effects of magnesium in acute attacks of bronchial asthma chronic, oral administration of magnesium can decrease bronchial reactivity and the number of exacerbations. By these effects it is possible to attenuate the symptoms of asthma und reduce the consumption of other antiasthmatics (ß-sympathomimetics). However, further investigations are necessary to elucidate which patients profit from the continuous administration of magnesium.