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Children Treated With Inhaled Steroids Are Shorter Than Peers, According To Study

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Children Treated With Inhaled Steroids Are Shorter Than Peers, According To Study

According to a study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and presented at the European Respiratory Society meeting in Vienna, Austria, researchers found that children treated with inhaled corticosteroids for asthma end up slightly shorter at their full adult height than children who don't use the drugs.

Asthma is a respiratory disorder that is manifested by paroxysmal dyspnea accompanied by cough and wheezing. Between dyspnea attacks, lung function is normal. Due to the fact that is a chronic disease, asthma requires long-term treatment with bronchodilators and other drugs. Asthma management of asthma benefit from a wide range of drugs, such as bronchodilators (albuterol), which are very useful for short-term control of asthma or combinations of  corticosteroids (budesonide, fluticasone) and beta adrenergic agonists (formeterol) useful in long-term treatment. Other drug classes used in asthma control  are mastocytes cell stabilizers such as nedocromil, but this type of drugs only prevents asthma attack. Leucotrine inhibitors such as zafirlukast and montelukast are also useful.

All these type of drugs used to treat asthma present side effects. Corticosteroid medications present both local and systemic side effects. are by far the most harmful to the body. Most common local side effects are represented by hoarseness and throat irritation. Systemic adverse effects include weight gain, skin atrophy, cataracts, glaucoma, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and others.

Children With Asthma

Children With Asthma

The study involved more than 1,000 children ages 5-12 who were treated for mild to moderate asthma as part of the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) clinical trial. This children received treatment for more than four years and were divided into three groups. Children from the first group received  twice-daily budesonide, an inhaled corticosteroid drug, children from the second group received nedocromil, an inhaled non-steroid drug and children from the third group received placebo medication. All children received albuterol, a fast-acting medication to control acute asthma symptoms and oral corticosteroids as needed to control symptoms.

Scientists regularly followed 943 participants until they reach adult height, for girls the adult height was considered to be at the age of 18 years and for boys at the age of 20 years. Scientists found that children who received budesonide (corticosteroid) were 1.2 cm shorter than those who received nedocromil or placebo. Children who experienced the slower growth were aged between 5-11 years old when they start using budesonide.

“This was surprising because in previous studies, we found that the slower growth would be temporary, not affecting adult height. But none of those studies followed patients from the time they entered the study until they had reached adult height., Dr. Robert C. Strunk, study’s senior author, said.