Asthma Drug Stunts Children's Growth for Life

Budesonide, marketed in Australia as Rhinocort and Pulmicort, stunts children's growth, cutting about 1.2cm off their height permanently.

The new research is based on a previous study, which showed that budesonide was safe and effective, but noted that kids taking it were an average of 1.2 cm shorter than those taking other asthma drugs.

The original study examined more than 1000 asthma sufferers aged five to 12. The kids were split into three groups and given budesonide, a non-steroid drug called nedocromil or a placebo.

This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and was presented at the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress in Vienna, Austria, this week.

William Kelly from the University of New Mexico, and his colleagues from several other universities, built on this study, contacting 943 of the original study respondents who were now adults.

They discovered that the children who were given budesonide were still an average of 2.5cm shorter than the other kids.

It was previously thought that children whose growth was stunted by the drug would “catch up” to their peers later in life.

Steroids are potent inhibitors of virtually every growth factor in children, including growth hormone secretion and action. Their effects also disrupt collagen–fibrous proteins and the chief constituent of connective tissue synthesis–affecting linear growth in children.


What are Corticosteroids?

Corticosteroids mimic the effects of hormones your body produces naturally in your adrenal glands, which sit atop your kidneys.

When prescribed in doses that exceed your body's usual levels, corticosteroids suppress inflammation, which can reduce the signs and symptoms of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and asthma.

Corticosteroids also suppress your immune system, which can help control conditions in which your body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues.

Multiple Side Effects 

Children are considered highly susceptible to the long-term effects of steroid use, whether injected or inhaled. The risk of side effects depends on the length of treatment, the dose and frequency.

Inhaled corticosteroids can leave traces of the medication in the mouth and throat and cause irritation.

Steroid use in the short term can lead to symptoms including fluid retention, headache, mood swings and glaucoma.

Longer term use can increase the chance of infection because of suppressed immune response, raise cholesterol levels and thinning of skin. 


    Emed's Comment

    1 in 10 children will use a steroidal asthma medication at one time in their life.

    Whether it is short or long term use, it is essential that you know the negative effects of any medication. 

    It is also essential that you know how to best support your respiratory system to prevent asthma attacks in the first place. 

    For more information on natural solutions for asthma, click here


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