Faisal Abuabat, Abdulaziz Al Alwan
Background: Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterised by airway inflammation and constriction of airway smooth muscles. There is growing evidence that magnesium might have a role in managing this disease through its dual effect as an anti-inflammatory and bronchodilating agent.
Objectives: To assess the efficacy of oral magnesium supplements in chronic asthmatic patients.
Methods: Database search in Medline, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Embase was done. In addition to searching through https://clinicaltrials.gov/ and references of other studies, and we contacted the authors of the included studies to ask for additional information.
We included all randomized controlled trials that assessed the use of oral magnesium supplements versus placebo, in addition to standard asthma treatment in mild-moderate asthmatic adults and children (older than 6 years). Two reviewers independently performed the study selection, data abstraction, and the assessment of the risk of bias.
Main Results: 8 trials comprising a total of 917 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Five main outcomes were reported in enough studies to be considered for meta-analysis (FEV1, FVC, Methacholine challenge test, the frequency of bronchodilator use and symptoms score). FEV1 was reported in five trials, with significant improvement favouring the intervention 3.59 CI: 95% (0.38, 6.80). The other outcomes were also favouring magnesium supplementation but the results were statistically insignificant.
Conclusion: The use of oral magnesium supplements, in addition to asthma inhalers, leads to significant improvement in FEV1, but otherwise does not appear to have an effect on further pulmonary function measures nor clinical outcomes.