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Steroids Stunt Growth Initially, But Children Catch Up

KEY POINT

Even though height “velocity” is reduced during the first year of therapy with inhaled corticosteroids for asthma, children later make up the difference and achieve a normal or nearly normal adult stature. According to a recently published study, children who used inhaled budesonide (Pulmicort—AstraZeneca) had a 20% decrease in growth velocity over the first year of therapy. But during a mean follow-up of 9.2 years, growth was normal, and average budesonide doses of 412 mcg per day did not significantly affect the height attained at adulthood.

SOURCES

Agertoft L, Pedersen S. Effect of long-term treatment with inhaled budesonide on adult height of children with asthma. N Engl J Med. 2000;343:1064–9.

Wohl MEB, Majzoub JA. Asthma, steroids, and growth [editorial]. N Engl J Med. 2000;343:1113–4.

The Childhood Asthma Management Program Research Group. Long-term effects of budesonide or nedocromil in children with asthma. N Engl J Med. 2000;343:1054–63.