Some parents worry that children who use inhaled corticosteroids may not grow as tall as other children. A very small difference in height and growth was found in children who were using inhaled corticosteroids compared to children not using them. 3 And one study showed a very small difference in height [about in. ( cm) ] in adults who used inhaled corticosteroids as children compared to adults who did not use inhaled corticosteroids. 4 But the use of inhaled corticosteroids has important health benefits for children who have asthma. If you are worried about the effects of asthma medicines on your child, talk with your doctor.
When used in high doses, a small amount of the medication is absorbed into the bloodstream and some side effects beyond the mouth and throat may develop. The most likely to be encountered are easy bruisability of the skin and suppression of the adrenal glands. The significance of adrenal gland suppression is discussed in further detail in the pamphlet entitled Asthma and Steroids in Tablet Form , prepared by the Partners Asthma Center. The risk from the long-term use of inhaled steroids in terms of hastening thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) is currently being studied. However, it is widely agreed that any risk that may be discovered will be far less than that resulting from use of steroids in tablet form in doses needed to achieve the same control of asthma.
Steroid medications are taken for many different medical conditions. Many people think of steroids and immediately think of negative side effects such as weight gain, moon-face (facial swelling), and mood swings. Most people do not have many side effects when on short courses of steroids of 10-14 days or more. However, when taken for longer periods of time, there can be some very serious side effects. When we ingest steroids or any medication, especially by mouth, the drug is absorbed into our vascular system and travels to all parts of our bodies, including our eyes. As a result, doctors are very cautious when prescribing steroids. It is well documented that oral steroids taken for an extended period of time can increase your risk for developing cataracts.