MAGnesium NEbuliser Trial In Children (MAGNETIC)


MAGnesium NEbuliser Trial In Children (MAGNETIC)
Funding NIHR HTA
Portfolio Paediatric, foetal and maternal health
Randomised Yes
Status Completed
Start Date 01-Dec-2007

MAGNETIC was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial examining whether giving nebulised isotonic magnesium sulphate in addition to standard inhaled bronchodilator therapy (nebulised salbutamol and ipratropium bromide) in children aged between 2 and 16 years with acute severe asthma results in a clinical improvement when compared with standard treatment alone.
Five hundred and eight children took part in MAGNETIC from 30 centres throughout the UK (one centre in Wales, two in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland and 25 in England). The magnesium regimen in MAGNETIC study, three doses in the first hour, did not show any statistically significant difference in need for intravenous bronchodilator therapy, admission to intensive care, length of stay in hospital, admission rate or number of doses of salbutamol given after the initial treatment of the first hour compared with standard treatment.

The results of the MAGNETIC trial supports the use of nebulised isotonic magnesium sulphate in the first hour of treatment as an addition to standard treatment when a child presents with an acute episode of severe asthma. The results indicate that no harm is done by adding magnesium sulphate to salbutamol and ipratropium bromide and although the study was not powered to demonstrate this fully, the data supports the suggestion that nebulised magnesium has a greater clinical effect in children who have more severe exacerbation with shorter duration of symptoms.


  • Kaur G, Smyth RL, Powell CVE, Williamson P. (2016) A survey of facilitators and barriers to recruitment to the MAGNETIC trial. Trials 17:607.
  • Kaur G, Smyth RL, Williamson PR. (2012) Developing a survey of barriers and facilitators to recruitment in randomised controlled trials. Trials 13:218
  • Kolamunnage‐Dona R, Powell C, Williamson PR (2016). Modelling variable dropout in randomised controlled trials with longitudinal outcomes: application to the MAGNETIC study. Trials. 17:222.
  • Ng S, Turner M, Gamble C, Didi M, Victor S, Atkinson J, Sluming V, Parkes LM, Tietze A, Abernathy LJ, Weindling AM. (2014) Effect of thyroxine on brain microstructure in extremely premature babies: magnetic resonance imaging findings in the TIPIT study. Pediatr Radiol; 44:987-996
  • Petrou S, Boland A, Khan K, Powell C, Kolamunnage-Dona R, Lowe J, Doull I, Hood K, Williamson PR. (2014) Economic evaluation of nebulized MgSO4 in acute severe asthma in children. International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care 30:4; 1-7
  • Powell C, Kolamunnage-Dona R, Lowe J, Boland A, Petrou S, Doull I, Hood K, Williamson P on behalf of the MAGNETIC study group. (2013) Magnesium sulphate in acute severe asthma in children (MAGNETIC): a randomised, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine 4: 301-308
  • Powell CVE, Kolamunnage‐Dona R, Lowe J, Boland A, Petrou S, Doull I, Hood K, Williamson P on behalf of the MAGNETIC study group (2013). MAGNESIUM TRIAL IN CHILDREN (MAGNETIC): A Randomised, Placebo Controlled Trial of Nebulised Magnesium Sulphate in Acute Severe Asthma in Children. Health Technology Assessment, 2013;17 (45).
  • Powney M, Williamson P, Kirkham J, Kolamunnage‐Dona R (2014). A review of the handling of missing longitudinal outcome data in clinical trials. Trials.15:237