Data on the effects of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) on linear growth in children <5 years old are limited with conflicting results from existing studies. This study was designed to investigate growth effects of inhaled corticosteroid use in children <5 years of age treated for
asthma with ICS administered through a valved holding chamber (VHC). A retrospective cohort study was performed of 145 children in three treatment groups: (1) metered-dose inhaler (MDI) containing ultrafine beclomethasone dipropionate (n = 62), (2) MDI containing fluticasone propionate (n
= 32), and (3) oral montelukast sodium (n = 51). Children <5 years of age between 2000 and 2009 treated for asthma with one of the three drugs were included in the study. Linear mixed model analysis was used to examine and compare growth during sustained treatment with each of the three
medications. The three treatment groups did not differ significantly in their effect on growth rates (p = 0.64). However, female subjects had significantly slower growth than male subjects (p = 0.017), and the addition of intranasal corticosteroids (INS; p = 0.013) and the presence of atopy
(p = 0.015) had a significant negative effect on growth. In children <5 years of age receiving maintenance therapy for chronic asthma, low-to-medium doses of ultrafine beclomethasone or fluticasone administered through a VHC were not associated with growth inhibition compared with children
receiving oral montelukast. A small but statistically significant decrease in growth was seen in subjects with positive skin testing to inhalant allergens in female subjects and in subjects receiving INS.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, USA
Publication date: November 1, 2013
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