- Doull IJ,
- Campbell MJ,
- Holgate ST
Purpose of the Study
To investigate the growth suppressive effects of inhaled corticosteroids in children with asthma.
Fifty children receiving beclomethasone 200 μg bid.
Height was measured by a single observer every 4 weeks for 30 weeks. Growth rate on treatment was compared with pretreatment growth rate.
During the first 6 weeks of therapy with inhaled corticosteroids the children's average growth slowed from 0.140 mm/week to 0.073 mm/week (P = .011). However, by weeks 25 to 30, growth velocity had recovered to baseline, 0.120 mm/week (P = .607), despite continued therapy.
The growth suppressive effect of inhaled corticosteroids may be relatively short-lived, with the most pronounced effect during the first 6 weeks.
Inhaled corticosteroids are an important part of our treatment of asthma in children. Yet we continue to be presented with evidence that they may have some real but subtle effects on growth. We should minimize the dose of these agents and use alternatives, such as nedocromil, when effective. However, the benefit of inhaled steroids to maintain good asthma control still far outweighs the risk to growth in the vast majority of patients. This study is actually reassuring, suggesting that the potential impact of inhaled corticosteroids on growth may lessen over time, even with their continued use.