Asthma Drugs Suppress Growth in Children

By , UniversityHerald Reporter

Popular asthma corticosteroid drugs suppress growth in children, according to a new study by the Federal University of Rio Grande in Rio Grande, Brazil.

Although the negative health effects were observed in the first year of treatment, patients shouldn't get worried as the growth rate was just affected by 0.5 cm and the damage was not observed in the later stages of the medication. Minimal effects were also observed by using lower doses of inhaled corticosteroid drugs.

"The evidence we reviewed suggests that children treated daily with inhaled corticosteroids may grow approximately half a centimetre less during the first year of treatment," said lead author Linjie Zhang from the Faculty of Medicine, in a press release.

"But this effect is less pronounced in subsequent years, is not cumulative, and seems minor compared to the known benefits of the drugs for controlling asthma and ensuring full lung growth."

For the study, researchers conducted two systematic reviews. The first review was based on data from 25 trials involving 8,471 participants, who were 18 years old and were suffering from mild to moderate asthma. Only 14 of these trials had data on growth rates of the participants.

Researchers found that the growth rate of participants in the control group averaged 6 to 9 centimeter per year. On the hand, 5, 717 participants from the 14 trials were associated with reduced growth rate of about 0.5 cm.

The second review included 22 trials, where the participants were administered with low or medium doses of the corticosteroids. Researchers found that lower doses of the drug improved growth by a quarter of a centimetre at one year in asthma patients.

The finding is published in the journal Cochrane Library.

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