Children who are treated for asthma before they reach two years old may have their growth suppressed by certain medications, according to a new report.
BBC News reports:
Young children given asthma medication before the age of two may not grow to their full height in later life, a preliminary report suggests. The study of 12,000 Finnish infants found that, on average, those who used inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) long-term showed signs of stunted growth.
Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are usually given to asthma sufferers via inhalers, and many parents report that they help control the symptoms of asthma. The BBC also reports that experts say this study serves as a reminder that these medicines should be "used with caution" in pre-school children, and that GPs are currently advised to monitor the weight and height of children who are taking asthma medication
I wasn't surprised to hear that inhaled steroids may have serious side-effects and should therefore be used with caution, but I have been surprised, in recent years, by how readily GPs seem to prescribe inhalers to help ease the symptoms of coughs and chest infections.
I never had an inhaler as a child at all but all three of my children have been prescribed them at one time or another when unwell with coughs and colds and I've always wondered if that's strictly necessary. They certainly don't suffer from asthma, so the thought that such drugs might be handed out too easily without regard for the side-effects troubles me.
We'd like to hear your thoughts on this story. Does your child suffer from asthma, and if so do you feel these medications should be prescribed with caution, or do you think the possible side-effects are outweighed by the effectiveness of ICS medications in controlling the symptoms of asthma and reducing attacks? Come and share your views over on our Facebook page.