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Inhaled Steroids Do the Trick With Mild Asthma

Cuts down on number of emergency room visits, study finds

THURSDAY, March 27, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Inhaled steroids may substantially reduce illness caused by mild asthma, says a Belgian study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

This study included more than 7,200 people, aged 5-66, from 32 countries. They were assessed for the effects of the steroid budesonide on their mild asthma. The study participants received either inhaled budesonide or a placebo once a day for three years, in addition to their usual asthma medication.

The study found that 44 percent fewer people taking the inhaled steroid had severe asthma attacks requiring emergency room visits and hospitalizations compared to the people taking the placebo.

People taking the budesonide were 40 percent less likely to need systemic corticosteroids and had more days free of asthma symptoms than those in the placebo group. The inhaled steroid also improved long-term lung function and was tolerated well.

However, the study found budesonide had a negative effect on the growth of children younger than 11 years. There was a 1.34 centimter reduction in the three-year growth rate in the children taking budesonide compared with children taking the placebo.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about how to control your asthma.

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, March 27, 2003
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