Inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective medicine to treat persistent asthma. Inhaled corticosteroids are asthma controller medicines. Asthma symptoms happen less often when an inhaled corticosteroid is used every day. When used every day, these medicines make the breathing tubes less sensitive by blocking the inflammation that leads to asthma symptoms.
Using a controller medicine reduces the need for rescue medicines and lowers the chance of needing to go to the emergency room for an asthma attack.
Because the main problem in asthma is long-term inflammation in the lungs, corticosteroids are often used to treat asthma. Corticosteroids help to reduce and prevent the swelling and excess mucus in the airway caused by inflammation.
For most people with asthma, corticosteroids are the single most effective medicine because they break the inflammation cycle and reduce the likelihood of future asthma flare-ups.
Inhaled corticosteroids are not like anabolic steroids. Although they have a similar name, they are very different from the anabolic steroids that are abused by some athletes. Also, it is important to know that concerns about using oral corticosteroids do not apply because inhaled corticosteroids are not absorbed into the body to any large extent .
A small number of individuals experience some local side effects, such as a yeast infection (white spots) of the mouth, tongue or throat and occasional hoarseness. Side effects can be avoided by rinsing the mouth after each treatment and using a spacer with a metered dose inhaler .
The aim of this article is to bring less well recognised adverse effects of inhaled corticosteroids to the attention of prescribers. Whilst inhaled steroids have a more favourable side effect profile than systemic steroids, they are not free from adverse effects. The dose of inhaled steroids used should be carefully monitored, and kept at the lowest dose necessary to maintain adequate control of the patient’s disease process. Be particularly aware of the cumulative effect of co-prescribing various dose forms of corticosteroids (inhaled, intranasal, oral and topical preparations).
Patients requiring oral corticosteroids should be weaned slowly from systemic corticosteroid use after transferring to ALVESCO. Prednisone reduction can be accomplished by reducing the daily prednisone dose by mg on a weekly basis during ALVESCO therapy [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ]. Lung function (FEV 1 or AM PEFR), beta-agonist use, and asthma symptoms should be carefully monitored during withdrawal of oral corticosteroids. In addition to monitoring asthma signs and symptoms, patients should be observed for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, such as fatigue, lassitude , weakness, nausea and vomiting, and hypotension .