Asthma steroids during infancy may stunt growth

London: Children who are given asthma medications during the first two years of life are likely to be stunted later on, says a study.

Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) – medications used to treat conditions such as asthma – are frequently used in infants with recurrent wheezing.

“Our research shows a link between long-term treatment of ICS during infancy and stunted growth at or after the age of two in otherwise healthy children,” said lead researcher Antti Saari from University of Eastern Finland.

In this study, the researchers analysed information on the height, weight and asthma medicine intake of 12,482 Finnish children aged up to 24 months.

The researchers found that children who used inhaled corticosteroids during the first two years of life were too short for their age.

This result was more evident in children taking the asthma medicine budesonide for more than six months, the study said.

The group will next focus on assessing the impact of inhaled corticosteroids on growth in older children and observe them for longer time periods.

“According to our research, we could only assess the impact of inhaled corticosteroids on growth in infancy until 2 to 3 years of age. The longitudinal impact of these medications is not clear and we would therefore like to investigate this further,” Saari said.

The study was presented at the 54th annual meeting of European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Meeting in Barcelona, Spain.