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WHEEZING AND STEROIDS

ANCHOR LEAD:   WHEEZING CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE TREATED WITH INHALED STEROIDS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

For some folks, such as those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, inhaled steroid medications may be a Godsend.  For others, especially children who wheeze, they may not only not help, they may be harmful, as reported in a recent New England Journal of Medicine study.  Brad Drummond, a lung expert at Johns Hopkins and lead author of a study on steroid use in COPD, says even though wheezing may be common denominator, it doesn’t mean everyone should use steroids.

DRUMMOND:  Individuals who have asthma, and also children who wheeze, are very different from people who have suffered the insult of smoking for many, many years.  There is a clear benefit from inhaled steroids in children and adults with asthma, which is a very different disease from COPD, although both patients complain of shortness of breath and wheezing, so I think that the literature regarding the use of inhaled steroids is still evolving, and our understanding will hopefully improve about how this drug can help and potentially harm other populations as well.                 :31

I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.


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