Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) medications are used to treat conditions such as asthma. These medications are frequently used in infants with recurrent wheezing. A new study by researchers from Kuopio University Hospital and University of Eastern Finland has revealed that infants given asthma medications during their first two years of age are likely to be stunted in later life.
The ICS medications may have harmful effects, for instance a reduced growth rate in development and a shorter height in adulthood. In this study, researchers analyzed information on the height, weight and asthma medicine intake of 12,482 Finnish children aged 0-24 months.
The team 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 who took the asthma medicine budesonide for more than 6 months.
Lead researcher Antti Saari said, "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. We could only assess the impact of inhaled corticosteroids on growth in infancy until two to three years of age."
The study was presented at the 54th Annual European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology Meeting.