In a recent study presented at the European Respiratory Society conference in Vienna, researchers defined the link between the use of a common asthma treatment drug and a child's height. For years it has been believed that budesonide, the primary active drug in Pulmicort, temporarily slowed the growth of children but that as the children grew into adults, their height eventually ‘caught up.’ This most recent study finds that the long term effects on adult height, though minimal, are permanent.
_When accounting for all factors across multiple age groups, researchers found that prepubescent children who took a twice daily dose of the inhaled glucocorticoid were an average of 1.2 cm (just under half an inch) shorter than those in the placebo group. As the children grew to be adults, the slowing in growth was not cumulative nor was it progressive.
_Overall, this is likely a case of not wanting to throw the baby out with the bathwater. While height is minimally effected, particularly with higher doses and with younger children, the overall effect of fewer asthma attacks ultimately outweighs this potential side effect.
_For doctors and parents, this study should prompt a discussion about the use budesonide and finding the minimal dose required to control asthma while limiting any potential growth issues.
_To read the original articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
_Author: Kevin Gilmore
_Keep an eye out the next three days as this week is VIRUS WEEK!