Asthma Drug Stunts Kids' Height for Life

Called budesonide, it's still too effective to give up

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 3, 2012 12:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – A decade after an asthma drug was found to stunt children's growth, scientists today announced a rather unpleasant find: The hampered growth seems permanent. On the bright side, however, it doesn't get any worse, NBC News reports. "This was surprising because in previous studies, we found that the slower growth would be temporary, not affecting adult height," says a scientist in the study. "It clarifies that they do not eventually catch up as they age or fall further behind their peers."

The drug in question is called budesonide, and can be found in a handful of medicines including Pulmicort and Rhinocort. It's also so effective that scientists don't advise taking kids off it, despite the likely 1/2-inch reduction in height. In some studies, doctors tried to reduce the height loss by halving the 400-microgram dosage, and children ended up just under half an inch shorter—so less budesonide may have some effect.

A commonly used asthma drug can permanently stunt a child's height by about half an inch, according to a new study.   (Shutterstock)
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