A doctor at Children's Hospital in Boston suggests that daily use of inhaled steroids may not be enough to control asthma in some children.
Dr. Gregory Sawicki insists that a study of 914 children with mild to moderate asthma has shown that over a period of one-year, children who used inhaled steroid consistently were 20 per cent less likely to report having well-controlled asthma in comparison to non-users of steroids.
The findings remained same even when the severity of the children's asthma was taken into account.
"There may be several reasons for our findings; It is possible that some children are genetically less responsive to steroids. In addition to issues of medication adherence and inability to completely control for differences in underlying asthma, severity can never be completely ruled out," says Dr. Sawicki.
He, however, conceded that further studies are required to understand what makes some children not to respond to steroids.
"But this issue hasn't been looked at closely in children. Further studies are needed to see what is different about children who don't respond to steroids, to see if there is a way to predict whether a child will respond to inhaled steroids," he said.
During the study, 435 children were recommended for inhaled steroids treatment, all of whom had persistent asthma. Whereas most of the participants in the control group reported well-controlled asthma.
In the experimental group, 44 per cent of the participants reported that they had been consistently using the medicine, while in the control group, 35 per cent said they intermittently used the medicine, and 21 per cent said they didn't use it at all.
"The majority of children with mild asthma are less likely to have symptoms as they get older and may not need to be on daily steroids," Dr. Sawicki said.
"The flip side is that if a child has poor asthma control, the parents and doctor need to make sure the child is adhering to their inhaled steroid treatment. But variation in response to inhaled steroids, as other medications, is well described," he added.
The study was presented at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference.