Date: 17 Mar 2016
Leave a comment
Using steroid containing inhalers to treat asthma can suppress the growth of children, according to two review of scientific studies published in The Cochrane Library journal. According to the World Health Organisation, around 235 million people suffer from asthma worldwide. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are often prescribed as first
line treatment for both adults and children suffering from persistent asthma.
The first review was based on 25 trials that compared the daily use of inhaled ICS for at least three months versus placebo or non-steroidal drugs in 8,471 children up to 18 years of age with persistent asthma.
The second review was based on 22 trails that analysed whether different doses of the same ICS molecule made a difference in the growth of children with persistent asthma. The studies showed that inhaled corticosteroids suppressed growth compared to placebos or non-steroidal drugs.
Growth suppression was strongest in the first year of treatment and was less pronounced in subsequent years. The magnitude of growth suppression may depend on the type of steroid used. But, the negative effects on growth could be minimised by using lower doses of the drug.
In spite of this finding experts feel that benefits of the drug far outweigh the negative effects. Inhaled steroids work by reducing inflammation in the lungs and are very effective in controlling underlying symptoms of asthma and have been shown to reduce serious asthma attacks, hospitalisation, and even asthma deaths and improve quality of life of patients.