Allergy Nasal Spray Might Affect Children's Growth
WebMD News Archive
Feb. 28, 2000 (Minneapolis) -- If your child uses a nasal spray for
allergies, you might want to take heed. Two studies in this month's
Pediatrics go nose-to-nose to evaluate the effects of two commonly
prescribed nasal steroid sprays. One of them, researchers find, can slightly
suppress childhood growth.
Typically, nasal steroid sprays are used to treat allergic rhinitis, a
disease affecting up to 10% of children and 20% of adolescents and adults. The
use of nasal sprays as a first-line therapy for children with persistent
allergic rhinitis has gained acceptance in recent years because the sprays are
well tolerated and effective for treating nasal symptoms.
In the separate studies, researchers evaluated the effects of the two nasal
sprays on childhood growth. Each of the studies followed approximately 100
children for a year. One found no evidence of growth suppression using a new
treatment called Nasonex (mometasone). The other found that an older treatment,
Vancenase (beclomethasone), might slightly slow the growth rate in
"There are definite differences among nasal preparations used to treat
allergies in both children and adults," Eric J. Schenkel, MD, author of the
Nasonex study, tells WebMD. Although Nasonex has been shown to be effective and
safe, it should be taken in the lowest dose possible, he says. Schenkel is
director of the Valley Clinical Research Center in Easton, Pa.
In the study on Vancenase, researchers found that a small percentage of
patients using the medication showed a slight growth suppression as early as a
month after beginning treatment. In an interview with WebMD, lead researcher
David P. Skoner, MD, tells parents that if a child uses this spray in the right
doses on the right timetable, "there's a small chance that he could have a
growth suppressive. However, if the child is doing well, there's no reason to
change." Skoner explains that the growth suppression found in the study
equated to less than half an inch during the yearlong trial. "That's a tiny
amount, and most kids that [take] these drugs don't have growth suppression. We
need to keep all of this in perspective," says Skoner, who is chief of the
Allergy/Immunology Section at the Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.