Are inhaled steroids safe?
Inhaled steroids are the standard treatment for the prevention of asthma. That they are highly effective is well known. We can now confidently say that they are very safe too.
Inhaled steroids have been used to control the allergic inflammation of asthma for the last 30 to 40 years. So we have a sufficient body of safety data. In the usual doses they are absolutely safe- safe even for pregnant women and for small children.
In the inhaled form a very tiny dose of the steroid is administered directly into the air tubes where it is required. It does not have to go through the blood stream. A very tiny portion of this does get absorbed from the lungs and the mouth but this is negligible when compared to the body’s own production of steroids. Yes, the body produces steroid hormone every day. We could not survive without it.
Here are some points to remember:
- The steroids used to treat asthma are corticosteroids – a copy of the steroids produced naturally in your body.
- They are completely different from the anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders and athletes.
- Inhaled steroids go straight down to the airways, so very little is absorbed into the rest of the body.
- Your doctor will prescribe the lowest possible dose sufficient to control your asthma.
- Children should be monitored closely, especially for growth.
Decades ago, when these medicines were not available, asthma would inevitably damage the lungs permanently. One should thank God that they are there now.
Inhaled steroids are an asthmatic’s best friend !!