Infants with recurrent wheezing are often treated with corticosteroids that are usually used as inhalants in treating conditions such as asthma. However, a study of nearly 12,500 infants in Finland found that those who had used inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) during the first 2 years of life were generally too short for their age.
Calling for using these medications only appropriately, the researchers say long-term use of oral corticosteroids in children can lead to shorter height in adulthood. While previous studies have linked the use of oral corticosteroids and temporary growth stoppage in older children, researchers say their new study shows a deeper relationship between long-term treatment of ICS during infancy and stunted growth at or after the age of 2 in otherwise healthy children.
Medical specialists say the study confirms what earlier research had implied that inhaled corticosteroids used in infancy can interfere with bone growth. Doctors however point out that this stunting in growth is minor and no parent should stop their children taking these lifesaving medicines.