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Studies Show Asthma Treatment Does Not Permanently Slow Growth

October 12, 2000

Inhaled steroids--a standard treatment for children with severe asthma--do not permanently stunt growth, as doctors had feared, researchers report in today's New England Journal of Medicine. Doctors knew that steroids cut growth by about a third of an inch a year when children start using them, and had worried that youngsters' growth might continue to lag that much every year.

But the first research to take a long look at the drugs--a five-year U.S. study and a 10-year study in Kolding, Denmark--found that the effect is temporary and children resume normal growth after about a year. The U.S. study further found that inhaled steroids can help control symptoms even in mild cases.

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--Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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