Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Monday, March 21, 2005

Inhaled Corticosteroids in Asthma

This is nothing new, but data continue to accumulate showing inhaled corticosteroids prevent asthma exacerbations, even in very young kids.

Asthma is a disease of inflammation in the lungs, and the inflammation is there all the time, even when patients aren't having symptoms. Regular use of inhaled corticosteroids (note these steroids are distinct from the anabolic steroids apparently used by most Major League Baseball players) decreases this inflammation and prevents serious asthma attacks. I children, these attacks are often caused by viral infections.

One of the challenges of being an asthma doctor is convincing parents and patients that medicine is necessary every day, even when kids don't have symptoms. You'd be surprised how many parents don't want to believe their child has a chronic illness, even after multiple hospitalizations and even ICU stays.

Interestingly, use of anti-inflammatories like inhaled steroids don't cure the disease, they just decrease morbidity. A number of large trials have showed that once inhaled steroids are discontinued, patients quickly go back to being just like untreated patients.


At 5:39 PM, Blogger Dreaming again said...

I have asthma and my son has asthma. He's 13, he was dx'd at 9 months. He's never been to the ER or hospitalized. (he has had breathing treatments in docs office)
He uses his asthmacort every day, faithfully ...

I use mine faithfully.

I've only had my asthma have me in the ER once and that was when there was a tire plant explosion near by and I walked into the cloud to go into a convience store to get a cup of coffee ..someone with a latex allergy should never do such a thing! (der duh!)

I'm a firm believer in the inhaled steroids!

At 9:15 AM, Blogger jon said...

Looking at asthma info online today while my son coughs I came across this post. Does anyone know a good asthma site to help?



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