Why Use Inhaled Corticosteroids for Asthma?

Treatment with Inhaled Corticosteroids for Asthma

Corticosteroids (or simply "steroids") are among the most commonly prescribed asthma medications worldwide. Steroids and other anti-inflammatory medications are absolutely necessary in most types of asthma treatment; they are used in "preventer" asthma inhalers to reduce the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms. The application of inhaled corticosteroids for asthma is very effective in improving the patient’s condition on mid to long-term treatment periods - the positive effects from steroids are felt at the end of the first week of treatment, and the most favorable state is usually reached in under 3 months. Most inhaled steroids are approved to be used in children who are at least 4 years old.

After completing a therapy of asthma treatment with inhaled corticosteroids, the patient should experience the following benefits:

  • Reduced frequency and severity of asthma attacks;
  • Improvement of persistent asthma symptoms, such as cough or shortness of breath;
  • You will need to use bronchodilators much less often;
  • Improved lung function.

Although these drugs clearly provide several beneficial effects for the patient, there are certain downsides to their use. Inhaled steroids cannot relieve acute symptoms of an asthma attack - the onset of their action is slow and they will not help with immediate symptoms, such as those during an asthma attack. Long term use of steroids (over 6 months of daily application) and overuse of these drugs is known to cause a number of side effects such as osteoporosis, glaucoma, or cataracts. It is best to consult a professional physician to learn all the pros and cons of these drugs.

What are Inhaled Corticosteroids Used For?

Corticosteroids provide pinpoint relief of inflammation and swelling in the airways affected by asthma. These positive effects are delivered due to the ability of steroids to suppress the inflammatory response of the organism, limiting the severity of an inflammatory reaction in the tissues that steroids are applied to. Steroids in inhalers for asthma are different from oral steroids used by bodybuilders or unsavory athletes - these are taken by mouth or injected directly into the bloodstream, causing muscle cells throughout the body to increase protein synthesis, strengthening the cell. Steroids used in inhalers only provide anti-inflammatory effects and only to the tissues of lungs and airways. This way the exposure is limited only to the affected areas of the organism, reducing the amount of side effects while maximizing efficiency.