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Children treated daily with inhaled corticosteroids may grow half a centimeter less during the first year of treatment, according to two systematic reviews published in The Cochrane Library. The review authors found children’s growth slowed in the first year of treatment, although the effects were minimized by using lower doses.
The first systematic review focused on 25 trials involving 8,471 children up to 18 years old with mild to moderate persistent asthma. These trials tested all available inhaled corticosteroids except triamcinolone and showed that, as a group, they suppressed growth rates when compared to placebos or non-steroidal drugs. Fourteen of the trials, involving more than 5,700 children, reported growth over a year.