According to one of the CAMP (Childhood Asthma Management Programme) long-term use of inhaled steroids is safe as well as effective for children with mild to moderate asthma. The inhaled steroids help to decrease the hyper responsiveness (increased sensitivity) of the airways, which is mainly responsible for the asthma attack following an exposure to an irritant or allergen.
A 5-year study was conducted on 1,000 children (between the age group of 5-12 years). It was found that as compared to the placebo (no medicine given) group the children kept on inhaled steroids reported 43% less emergency visits, 43% less hospitalization, 45% less use of oral steroids (required to treat acute asthma attacks), 22% of symptom free days and 30% of days when they did not require any medication.
The only side effect observed during the study was a slight but temporary reduction in the growth of children. During the first year of the study the average increase in height of children on inhaled steroid was 3/8 of an inch less than that of the other children. However, during the rest of the 4-year study the increase in height was identical to the other children. In fact another study also supported that children on inhaled steroids attain normal adult height.
Researchers say that CAMP provides scientific evidence regarding the long-term effectiveness and safety of inhaled corticosteroids for children. In fact, inhaled steroids can help in better asthma control and improved quality of life. Hence, doctors and parents may use them safely in children with mild to moderate asthma so that they can participate actively in all childhood activities.