Long-, intermediate- and short-term growth studies in asthmatic children treated with inhaled glucocorticosteroids.
During recent years, new auxological techniques have been introduced for assessment of the risk of growth suppression in asthmatic children treated with exogeneous glucocorticosteroids. Assessment of lower leg growth rates with the knemometer has made short-term studies of growth processes under strictly controlled conditions possible. However, short-term lower leg growth rates cannot be used for estimations of intermediate-term height growth rates or long-term evaluations of final height. Consequently, the distinctions between the various types of growth studies in asthmatic children treated with inhaled glucocorticosteroids have become important and need to be discussed. The present paper presents a review of the long-, intermediate- and short-term growth studies available. The bulk of evidence from intermediate- and short-term evaluations indicates that growth rate is not affected when standard paediatric doses of inhaled glucocorticosteroids are used. However, further focus needs to be placed on differences between specific glucocorticosteroids, doses and delivery systems. Intermediate- and short-term growth data should be evaluated in the long-term perspective.