For children who have persistent asthma of any degree, inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) treatment is recommended. However, there is ongoing debate with regard to the potential adverse systemic effects and safety of long-term use of these agents, particularly in children. This concern mainly stems from the findings from studies assessing the effects of ICS on lower-leg growth rate or the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The current consensus is that ICS are highly effective and, because their benefits clearly exceed potential risks, can be used safely in children who have persistent asthma.[2,3]
In this Expert Interview conducted by Helen Fosam, PhD, Medscape Allergy & Clinical Immunology, David B. Allen, MD, summarizes the current issues and evidence surrounding the risks and benefits of using ICS to treat asthma in children. David B. Allen, MD, is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Allen is also the Director of Endocrinology and Residency Training at the University of Wisconsin Children's Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin.