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Another common fear about corticosteroids is that they will cause growth suppression in children. To date, many studies have been done that prove that corticosteroids do not stunt a child's growth. Six years of ongoing studies in children and adolescents who used inhaled corticosteroids show that the speed of growth may be slowed by about 1 cm. over one year in children. However, these children catch up and do attain their full adult height. In some studies, these children grew even taller than their siblings. Interestingly, poorly controlled asthma can actually contribute to growth suppression.
The aim of this article is to bring less well recognised adverse effects of inhaled corticosteroids to the attention of prescribers. Whilst inhaled steroids have a more favourable side effect profile than systemic steroids, they are not free from adverse effects. The dose of inhaled steroids used should be carefully monitored, and kept at the lowest dose necessary to maintain adequate control of the patient’s disease process. Be particularly aware of the cumulative effect of co-prescribing various dose forms of corticosteroids (inhaled, intranasal, oral and topical preparations).