Inhaled Corticosteroids Side Effects: Steroid Effects on Children

Question: Are steroids really dangerous? What side-effects are associated with inhaled corticosteroids? Kindly explain the effects of inhaled corticosteroids on children?

Answer: Many people have wrong opinion about steroids. They confuse it with anabolic steroids, sometimes used by athletes and weight lifters who want to build muscle mass. However, there are many types of steroids. And the corticosteroids used for asthma which is technically known as glucocorticoids are completely different. For treatment of asthma, inhaled corticosteroids are considered safe because very little gets into the blood stream to cause side effects. Research is being conducted to determine long-term effects when high doses of inhaled steroids are taken.

Corticosteroids are also available as injections and in pill form, these forms are more dangerous.

Adverse Effects Of Inhaled Corticosteroids

Inhaled corticosteroids are also accompanied by side effects.

  • They often cause thrush, which is a fungal infection of the mouth. As a preventive measure one has to simply rinse the mouth after each inhalation.
  • After inhaling the aerosol, some people even report an occasional cough or creaky voice.

The side effects of inhaled steroids on children are quite controversial.

  • Some studies associate inhaled corticosteroids with impaired growth and some mild suppression of adrenal glands, which produce the natural steroid hormones.
  • Other studies however feel that growth is not permanently stunted but merely delayed.

Research is being conducted further to know the effects of inhaled steroids on children. Until then, doctors and parents have to weigh the severity of their child’s asthma against the potential side-effects. To prevent severe attacks children with severe asthma may need inhaled steroids. As compared to steroid pills or injection, inhaled corticosteroids are much safer for children as well as adults.