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Kids who inhaled steroids to have stunted growth

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A preliminary report has suggested that young children below two years who are given asthma medication may not grow to their full height in later life. Asian Lite reports

A child is received a polio vaccine during a vaccination campaign in Herat province in western Afghanistan on May 11, 2015The study of 12,000 Finnish infants found that, on average, those who used inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) long-term showed signs of stunted growth.

Previous research has suggested a link with growth suppression.

Experts said the study was a reminder that steroids should be used with caution in pre-school children.

However, Asthma UK said inhaled corticosteroids played a crucial in controlling asthma symptoms and reducing trips to hospital for young infants.

The findings are presented at the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology conference.

One in 11 children in the UK has asthma, making it the most common long-term medical condition among children.

Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are strong medications commonly found in inhalers, used to treat asthma in adults and recurrent wheezing in children – but they are known to have side-effects in some people, says a BBC report.

The latest guidelines for GPs recommend that all children taking inhaled steroids for asthma should have their height and weight checked every year for any signs of reduced growth.

Lead researcher Dr Antti Saari, from the University of Eastern Finland, said his team had analysed information on the height of the children’s parents, as well as data on the children’s weight and asthma medicine, to calculate expected height and growth, says BBC news .

He found an association which, if permanent, could lead to around 3cm of decreased adult height.

Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK, said inhaled corticosteroids were crucial for reducing and controlling asthma symptoms and the impact on height was “relatively minor”.

She told BBC: “No parent should stop their children taking these life-saving medicines, because a slight reduction in growth is a small price to pay for medicines which may save your child’s life.”

 

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