Which adverse effects are associated with corticosteroid treatment in children with asthma?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Although use of systemic corticosteroids is recommended early in the course of acute exacerbations in patients with an incomplete response to beta agonists, oral administration is equivalent in efficacy to intravenous administration. Corticosteroids speed the resolution of airway obstruction and prevent a late-phase response. [99, 100]

In children, long-term use of high-dose steroids (systemic or inhaled) may lead to adverse effects that include growth failure. However, long-term use of inhaled steroids (budesonide) was shown to have no sustained adverse effect on growth in children, according to the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP). [101, 102]

In preschool children with asthma, 2 years of inhaled corticosteroid therapy did not change the asthma symptoms or lung function during a third, treatment-free year. This suggests that no disease-modifying effect of inhaled corticosteroids is present after the treatment is discontinued. [103]

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