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A critical review of the effects of inhaled corticosteroids on growth

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Inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) are an effective therapy for the treatment of persistent asthma of all severities because they reduce symptoms, improve lung function, and reduce underlying inflammation. Although ICSs are generally safe for long- term use, there is concern among physicians and patients about potential systemic side effects, including growth inhibition in children. This continued concern of systemic side effects may negatively affect the compliance to ICS treatment. Based on the current guidance to industry from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some efficacy and safety studies on ICSs performed in the 1990s had limitations in their design to evaluate the effect of ICS therapy on growth as a safety end point. A review of studies performed with currently available ICSs and their level of conformance with the FDA guidance are presented in this article. The 1-year studies show a small, dose-dependent effect of most ICSs on childhood growth, with some differences across various ICS molecules and across individual children. Some ICSs at the doses studied did not affect childhood growth using rigorous study designs. Most studies did not conform completely with the FDA guidance. The data on effects of childhood ICS use on final adult height are conflicting, but one recent well-designed study showed an effect, clearly warranting additional studies.
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Keywords: Asthma; children; growth; hypothalamic; inhaled corticosteroids; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics; pituitary-adrenal axis; safety; side effects; systemic exposure

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Pediatrics, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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