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Asthma inhalers 'stunt growth', research finds

By Mblazeby  |  Posted: July 17, 2014

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Asthma remedies cut growth rates by roughly half a centimetre in the first year of their use, research has shown.

Scientists, who reviewed data from more than 8,000 under 19 year olds, urged parents to continue to let their children use inhalers and stressed that the growth stunt was unimportant in comparison to protecting children against potentially fatal asthma attacks.

The review looked at 25 trials involving 8,471 children and teenagers under 18 and focused on corticosteroid inhalers which are prescribed as first line treatments to patients with persistent asthma.

Experts implored parents to put the findings in perspective and continue to use inhalers as usual.

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Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at the charity Asthma Research UK, said: 'Half a centimetre in growth is a small price to pay for medicine which may save your child’s life.

'Uncontrolled asthma can substantially increase the likelihood of asthma attacks, hospitalisation and even death and we know that inhaled steroids, taken regularly, significantly reduce the likelihood of these events happening.

'For a long time now people with asthma have told us they fear the side effects of taking asthma medicines but the good news is this evidence shows only a relatively minor impact from inhaled corticosteroids. No parent should therefore stop their children taking these lifesaving medicines.'

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