A new study has made some shocking findings for the drugs given to kids suffering from asthma. According to two systematic reviews of scientific studies, corticosteroid drugs which are given to asthmatic children through inhalers can suppress their growth.
Despite the glaring exposure, there is a common notion among the health experts that slight loss of growth is a very little price paid for protection against those fatal asthma attacks.
During the first year of treatment, the health experts found that the growth of children suffering from asthma slowed in that period. The effects were, however, minimized by using lower doses.
Researchers say there are several evidences that suggest the effect of corticosteroid drugs could be lowered by using its lower doses.
Scientists carried study on over 8,000 young people who were 18-year-old and under. The participants were suffering from mild to moderate asthma.
Francine Ducharme, who worked on both the reviews, said, “The findings were important and should prompt more frequent and detailed tracking of childhood asthma patients’ growth.”
Ducharme, a professor at the University of Montreal, said, “Only 14 percent of the trials we looked at monitored growth in a systematic way for over a year. This is a matter of major concern given the importance of this topic.”
The main idea of the research was to know more about corticosteroid inhalers that are recommended for first-line treatments of both kids and adults with persistent asthma.
“The evidence we reviewed suggests that children treated daily with inhaled corticosteroids may grow approximately half a centimetre less during the first year of treatment,” Dr Linjie Zhang, from the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil who was also the study lead author, said while adding, “ But this effect is less pronounced in subsequent years, is not cumulative, and seems minor compared to the known benefits of the drugs for controlling asthma and ensuring full lung growth.”
The World Health Organization report says around 235 million people across the world are affected from asthma.
Asthma is a chronic disease which is common among children. In this health condition, the air passages of lungs are narrowed and get inflamed.
The researchers analysed data of 8,471 children and teenagers up to 18 years old involved in 25 clinical trials, which tested inhaled corticosteroids.
14 trials involving 5,717 participants reported growth over the course of a year. The participants of this group reported suppression in their growth rates due to corticosteroids in comparison to inactive placebos or non-steroidal drugs.
The researchers found that the asthma inhalers cut about half a centimetre from an average annual growth rate of six to nine centimetres.
The second review included 22 trials involving kids that were treated with low or medium doses of inhaled corticosteroids.
Three trials involving 728 children continued for a year or more.
Reduction in inhaler doses, in these trials, by about one puff a day led to improvement in growth by a quarter of a centimetre per year.
According to the experts, the findings should be put in correct perspective. They also urged parents not to stop making asthma inhalers available to their KIDS.
The research findings were published it in the Cochrane Library journal.
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