Inhaled steroids and risk of pneumonia

Early on when taking these drugs (hormones), you can simplistically think of the medication as "supplementing" your body's own production of corticosteroids. With time, your body realizes you are getting all of the corticosteroids you need in pill or intravenous form, and your body sends a message to stop producing your own natural corticosteroids. If these drugs are suddenly stopped, you not only are not getting the prescription, but it can take a significant amount of time before your body realizes that it needs to make its own corticosteroids again.

Nebulisers are machines that turn the liquid form of your short-acting bronchodilator medicines into a fine mist, like an aerosol. You breathe this in with a face mask or a mouthpiece. Nebulisers are no more effective than normal inhalers. However, they are extremely useful in people who are very tired (fatigued) with their breathing, or people who are very breathless. Nebulisers are used mainly in hospital for severe attacks of COPD when large doses of inhaled medicines are needed. They are used less commonly than in the past, as modern spacer devices are usually just as good as nebulisers for giving large doses of inhaled medicines. You do not need any co-ordination to use a nebuliser - you just breathe in and out, and you will breathe the medicine in.

When used in high doses, a small amount of the medication is absorbed into the bloodstream and some side effects beyond the mouth and throat may develop. The most likely to be encountered are easy bruisability of the skin and suppression of the adrenal glands. The significance of adrenal gland suppression is discussed in further detail in the pamphlet entitled Asthma and Steroids in Tablet Form , prepared by the Partners Asthma Center. The risk from the long-term use of inhaled steroids in terms of hastening thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) is currently being studied. However, it is widely agreed that any risk that may be discovered will be far less than that resulting from use of steroids in tablet form in doses needed to achieve the same control of asthma.

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  • Citation tools Download this article to citation manager Bush Andrew , Grigg Jonathan , Saglani Sejal . Managing wheeze in preschool children BMJ 2014; 348 :g15
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    Inhaled steroids and risk of pneumonia

    inhaled steroids and risk of pneumonia

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  • Citation tools Download this article to citation manager Bush Andrew , Grigg Jonathan , Saglani Sejal . Managing wheeze in preschool children BMJ 2014; 348 :g15
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