Use of steroids as a treatment option and its side effects :: Nationwide Childrens Hospital

Use of Steroids as a Treatment Option and its Side Effects

Many parents have concerns about the side effects of steroids prescribed to treat asthma. The dosage of steroids given through an inhaler is much smaller than steroids ingested or given in a shot, and the steroids used in medicine to treat asthma are not the same as anabolic steroids which are used by weight lifters and athletes to make their muscles big and strong. Also, children cannot become addicted to the steroids used to treat asthma.

Video Transcript

Kevin’s doctor prescribed an inhaled steroid for him to use everyday to treat his asthma.

I don’t know – using steroids all the time worries me because of how harmful steroids can be.

What do you mean?

A lot of parents have concerns about side effects from steroids.

Steroids are present inside all of our bodies but when we use them as a medicine they can help treat inflammation and swelling.

which is a big part of asthma

Steroids come in many forms, as well as many doses.

When steroids are given by mouth, or through a shot, the dose is a lot higher than what we use when given through an inhaler.

An important thing to remember is that the steroids we use in medicine to treat asthma are not the same as anabolic steroids which are used by weightlifters and athletes to make their muscles big and strong.

Your child will not develop big muscles from using their inhaler or any other side effects associated with anabolic steroids.

There is a common side effect that can occur with using inhaled steroids however.

This is called Thrush.

Thrush is a white coating that can occur inside the mouth or on the tongue.

It is very easy to treat if it does occur, however it is also very easy to prevent.

Just make sure that your child brushes their teeth and tongue after they use their inhaler or rinses their mouth.

This should be done every single time they use their steroid inhaler to help prevent Thrush from occuring.

Oh, I didn't know that steroids were different from one another.

But I’m still kind of worried that Kevin might become addicted to his medication – is this true?

Absolutely not.

Inhaled steroids will not lead to addiction or dependance.

If your child’s doctor recommends they use an inhaled steroid, that means their asthma isn’t under good control and that we can do a lot better.

Remember, inhaled steroids won't work right away, and you won't notice that they are working.

However, if you use them consistently, then over time your child's asthma will be under much better control.

This means that they will miss less school, cough less, and sleept better throughout the night.

Great – thanks!

I’ll make sure Kevin gets his medicine just as our doctor instructed.

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