Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cataracts from Asthma Medications

This is another important topic.  Parents frequently ask me if the inhaled steroid medications will hurt their children.  As a parent of four children, I agree this is a very good question.  Quite a few parents stop their children's controller medications because their concern about adverse effects is greater than the perceived benefits from taking the medication.  The controller medications include inhaled corticosteroids, inhaled long-acting bronchodilating agents (LABA), and Singulair.  A recent study was published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  The investigators of the Childhood Asthma Management Group (CAMP) followed children with asthma for a median duration of 12 years.  The median duration of using inhaled cataracts was 4 years.  The question was do children have an increased risk of developing posterior subcapsular cataracts after using inhaled corticosteroids?  No, based on dilated slit lamp examinations.  I find this result highly reassuring.  The study will be become one of a number of studies in mind supporting my position that the benefits outweigh the risks, patients must be watched carefully with regular office visits, and the minimum necessary doses of inhaled corticosteroids to maintain control should be used.
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