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Child's Use of Certain Asthma Drugs Could Shorten Adult Height
Date:9/3/2012

MONDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults who used inhaled steroid drugs to treat their asthma when they were children are slightly shorter -- about half an inch -- than those who didn't use the drugs, a new study finds.

Researchers followed 943 children, ages 5 to 12, who were treated for mild to moderate asthma for more than four years. The children were divided into three groups. One group took the inhaled corticosteroid medication budesonide (brand names Pulmicort, Rhinocort) twice a day; the second group took the inhaled non-steroid medication nedocromil (brand name Tilade); and the third group took a placebo.

All the children took albuterol, a fast-acting drug for relief of acute asthma symptoms, and oral corticosteroids as needed to treat asthma symptoms.

The children were followed until they reached their full adult height -- age 18 or older for females and age 20 or older for males. The average height of patients who took budesonide was one-half inch shorter than those who took nedocromil or placebo. The slower growth occurred during the first two years of the study. As the study continued, the children who took budesonide remained one-half inch shorter than the other children until they reached their adult height.

"We found it made no difference if they were boys or girls or how long they had had asthma, or any other of these factors," study senior author Dr. Robert Strunk, a professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a university news release. "We also looked at the height of the parents, and that didn't have any impact, either."

The study was presented Sept. 3 at the European Respiratory Society meeting, in Vienna, and published online the same day in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Struck said asthma specialists at St. Louis Children's Hospital keep close tabs on the growth of patients who use inhaled steroids. The childre
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