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Asthma in Children - Medications

Concern about medicines and growth

Some parents worry that children who use inhaled corticosteroids may not grow as tall as other children. A very small difference in height and growth was found in children using inhaled corticosteroids compared to children not using them.12 And one study showed a very small difference in height [about 0.5 in. (1.3 cm)] in adults who used inhaled corticosteroids as children compared to adults who did not use inhaled corticosteroids.13 But the use of inhaled corticosteroids has important health benefits for children who have asthma. If you are worried about the effects of asthma medicines on your child, talk with your doctor.

What to think about

  • Controller medicines. One of the best tools for managing asthma is a daily controller medicine that has a corticosteroid (sometimes called a "steroid"). But some people worry about using corticosteroid medicines because of myths they've heard about them. If you're making a decision about a corticosteroid inhaler, it helps to know the facts.
  • Quick-relief medicines. Because these medicines quickly reduce symptoms, children sometimes overuse them instead of adding the slower-acting, long-term medicines. But overuse of quick-relief medicines may have harmful effects, such as decreasing how well these medicines work in the future.14 Overuse of quick-relief medicine is also a sign that asthma symptoms are not being controlled. You should talk with your doctor right away if your child is using quick-relief medicine on more than 2 days a week.
  • Corticosteroid pills. Research shows that the most important factor in reducing the severity and length of an asthma attack in children is giving a corticosteroid pill early in a severe attack. These pills work best when given at the first sign of symptoms.15
  • Inhaled medicines. Try to avoid giving your child an inhaled medicine when he or she is crying, because not as much medicine is delivered to the lungs.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 14, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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