Regularly using low or medium doses of inhaled corticosteroids (ICs) suppresses children's growth during the year after starting treatment for mild to moderate persistent asthma, a Cochrane review has concluded.
The authors included 25 studies involving 5128 children who used ICs and 3343 controls. Compared with placebo or non-steroidal drugs, ICs significantly reduced linear growth velocity (mean difference 0.48cm a year) and the change in height from baseline (mean difference 0.61 cm a year) during the first year of treatment.
No statistically significant difference in linear growth velocity emerged between ICs and controls during the second year of treatment, based on the five trials that reported this outcome. One of the two studies that reported linear growth velocity in the third year of treatment found a reduction. The other study reported similar linear growth velocities during the third year.